Tomorrow will see the start of The Statewide Conference on Heritage in Downtown Pittsburgh. Our city has a wealth of well-preserved building, historic bridges and a storied industrial past which makes it a perfect setting for a conference which focuses on the preservation of Pennsylvania’s heritage. It’s being held at the historic William Penn Hotel and runs from Tuesday, July 16 through Friday, July 19.
Future Tenant, an organization which provides a laboratory setting for artists, arts managers and audiences, and Tree Pittsburgh, an environmental non-profit dedicated to protecting and enhancing our urban forest, are collaborating on a project for Arbor Aid 2013. They’ve put out a call for artists for artwork that is either made out of, or relates to, reclaimed urban wood. That wood can come from downed or removed trees, from fixtures, from flooring, from beams, etc. that have an urban source. The work will be under consideration for use in an exhibit that will be held at Future Tenant from Saturday, November 2 to Sunday, December 1, 2013. The exhibition is part of activities by Tree Pittsburgh for the 2013 Arbor Day Foundation Partners in Community Forestry National Conference and the opening night Arbor Aid event on Saturday, November 2nd.
Have you installed or are thinking of installing solar electric (solar photovoltaic), solar hot water (solar thermal) or a battery back-up system on your home or small business but thought it was too late to obtain a PA Sunshine Solar Rebate? The good news is that there’s still almost $3 million worth of rebate money left in the program which was initiated in 2008 by the General Assembly under the Rendell Administration and administered by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). More good news in that you can qualify for the rebate without needing to first obtain approval prior to project implementation to reserve funding (as in the old two-stop process).
There are more than a dozen registered historic districts in the City Of Pittsburgh. We have a treasure of both homes and public buildings that are more than one hundred years old — it’s part of what makes Pittsburgh special. But these buildings aren’t just beautiful to look at, they encourage economic development as people find neighborhoods with architectural character a desirable place to live. Additionally, preserving and adapting an existing building is a key element of sustainable development.
Love Your Block grants are a joint program of the City of Pittsburgh and The Home Depot Foundation to revitalize our city. To date, Love Your Block grants have helped beautify approximately 150 blocks in the City of Pittsburgh. The program invites nonprofit organizations to propose block improvement projects in their neighborhoods. Up to 30 local nonprofit groups will each win $1,000 Home Depot gift cards to achieve their goal. Each project must also demonstrate the ability to mobilize a minimum of 20 neighborhood volunteers to participate. Additionally, city agencies will provide services such as graffiti removal, supplying litter cleanup supplies, pruning city-owned trees, etc., as is feasible.
The Housing Authority of Pittsburgh controls nearly 6,000 public housing units and administers more than 6,000 Section 8 vouchers throughout the City of Pittsburgh. Our Housing Authority was the first created in Pennsylvania and one of the first in the nation. Many of the units and communities were constructed many years ago and are badly in need of modernization and better service provision. A recent independent audit revealed some serious concerns about how contracts are awarded by the authority and how services are provided. Public housing residents should not have to live in substandard conditions. They should not have to wait for an audit to see improvement in their communities.
A diverse alliance of labor, community and environmental groups rallied in support of Bill Peduto this morning. Peduto supporters from groups including 32BJ SEIU, The Sierra Club, United Steelworkers, UFCW, Ironworkers, IATSE, Clean Water Action, and the League of Conservation Voters gathered at the Gardens at Market Square—the first development which will be fully covered under the 2009 Service Worker Prevailing Wage Bill strongly supported by Bill Peduto.
In 2004, the Pennsylvania General Assembly passed the Transit Revitalization Investment District (TRID) law. This law allows municipalities and redevelopment authorities to create TRID Districts so new revenue can be utilized to expand and create new public transit opportunities. Stakeholders in East Liberty are working on implementing the city’s first TRID District in conjunction with new developments in the area. The TRID will allow a portion of the new property taxes created through redevelopment efforts to be dedicated to improvements in public transit, pedestrian, and bicycle infrastructure in the surrounding area. Our hope is that this TRID District becomes a model that can be used in other neighborhoods. But creating TRID may not be enough. To supplement the district and ensure that the development within it is in line with the goals of expanding and creating transit opportunities, I will work with our City Planning Department to create the city’s first Transit Oriented Development zoning overlay.
Earth Day is coming up on Monday, April 22nd, and I’d love for you to join me and a hundred of our closest friends to celebrate in style at the Mansions on Fifth from 6-8pm.
The energy used by buildings to keep our offices, stores, homes, and stadiums heated in the winter, cooled in the summer, and lighted all year round represents a significant portion of the total energy used every year. It also represents a lot of greenhouse gases pumped into the atmosphere and a lot of money wasted on inefficiencies. Cities around the country have started to look more closely at how large buildings use energy, and through this process of examining usage they have been able to take concrete steps to make buildings more efficient and save energy and money. Through partnerships with the federal government, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and organizations like Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future and the Green Building Alliance, we can create a program to help building owners and managers track their energy use and make adjustments to save them energy and money.