By Andy Sheehan

HAZELWOOD (KDKA) — There is a mile-and-a-half long stretch of land along Pittsburgh’s Waterfront in Hazelwood, and the neighborhood has grown impatient with plans to redevelop it. But a groundbreaking today could bring about change.

For more than two decades, the former J&L Steel Mill site in Hazelwood has sat vacant, but Friday, civic leaders ushered in some new hope that that will soon change.

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“We’re announcing the start of the road to progress and prosperity and bringing those job and taxes back to this neighborhood,” Don Smith with Regional Industrial Development said.

Hopes are high now that the construction of a mile-and-a-half long road with attendant storm sewers and water lines will spark the long-awaited development of office, retail, hotel and residences. The neighborhood has grown impatient, however.

“Can’t blame them for being impatient, but we want to see the right kind of development,” U.S. Representative Mike Doyle said, “and I think you’re going to start seeing some really interesting and good things for the community happen on this site.”

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The big break, though, could be Kennametal, the technology and industrial supply corporation. Kennametal is moving its administrative staff from their current headquarters in Latrobe to the U.S. Steel Building downtown.

KDKA has recently reported that they’re in negotiations about building a new world headquarters at the Hazelwood site, though officials are tight-lipped.

“Kennametal was looking at several new locations and many were out of state,” Doyle said, “so the idea that negotiations took place to keep them in Pittsburgh and potentially on the site we’re standing on would be good news for Pittsburgh.”

If or when Kennametal decide to locate here, it would be a major catalyst to get things off and running and finally turn these empty fields into that major new development.

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