Harrisburg – Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Ellen Ferretti today announced that work will begin in August now that contracts have been awarded for the construction of a new park office/visitor center at Kinzua Bridge State Park, McKean County.
“After completing the skywalk at Kinzua Bridge State Park in 2011, we are now ready to move forward with the next phase of amenities -- a visitor center to welcome people and provide interpretation of the park’s history, and the recreational opportunities not only onsite, but in the Pennsylvania Wilds region," Ferretti said.
This project is part of Enhance Penn’s Woods – a two-year, more than $200 million initiative launched by Governor Tom Corbett to repair and improve Pennsylvania’s state parks and forests.
Contracts have been awarded by the Pennsylvania Department of General Services to JC Orr of Altoona, $4.7 million for general contract work; W.C Eshenaur & Son of Harrisburg, $853,000 for HVAC system; A&MP Electric Inc. of Guys Mills, $614,000 for electrical work; and Rabe Environmental Systems, Erie, $707,500 for plumbing. The funds for the work are provided by the state’s capital budget.
A groundbreaking event will be held at the park on Aug. 21.
“Planning and preparations for the Kinzua Bridge State Park Visitor Center have been in progress for the past several years,” Sen. Joseph Scarnati said. “I am grateful to Secretary Ferretti and Governor Corbett for supporting this important investment in our region. This state of the art facility will help to provide numerous recreational and educational opportunities, while also fostering economic development for the surrounding area. I am very pleased to be a part this project and look forward to witnessing the positive effects of the center in years to come.”
The visitor center will house 2,800-square feet of space in two exhibit halls and a lobby; park administratve offices; public restrooms; and classroom space. The project also includes a maintenance building.
The building will seek LEED certification and will include water efficient plumbing fixtures; geothermal heating and cooling system; regionally sourced materials with a high level of recycled content; sustainably certified wood; and diversion of construction debris and waste to recycling centers instead of landfills.
The work is expected to be complete by fall of 2015.
The 329-acre Kinzua Bridge State Park features remnants of the 2,053-foot long viaduct that was first built of iron in 1882, and then rebuilt of steel in 1900. The viaduct, commonly referred to as a railroad bridge, is series of arches that carry the railroad over the wide valley.
The viaduct was toppled by a tornado in 2003. In 2011, DCNR opened a pedestrian walkway with a glass-bottom observation area down into the Kinzua Gorge on the remaining half of the bridge.
The bridge and observation deck will remain open during construction of the office and visitor center.
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