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.
June is the month when Pittsburghers know they can finally stop worrying about frost in their gardens, safely put away the heavy jackets, and attend all the festivals which blossom in our city. This Sunday, June 9th, is the Pittsburgh Feast of St. Anthony Festival. It’s a traditional Italian festival celebrating St. Anthony, the beloved patron saint of lost objects.
Whether or not one has children enrolled in the Pittsburgh Public School District, the quality of our public schools is an issue which affects us all. The health and future of our city is inextricably tied to the health and future of our schools. Right now, the District has the challenge of trying to close a $50 million budget gap while still achieving their vision that “80% of Pittsburgh Public Schools students earn a post-secondary degree or workforce certification.”
Times have not been easy for those who rely on public transportation. Cuts to routes and fare increases have a direct and immediate effect on their quality of life and their pocketbook. But, the effect is far more reaching than that. Reliable, affordable and safe mass transit is crucial to the health and growth of any city. It is a top consideration among those who are are deciding to move or stay in a region. It lessons traffic congestion, provides environmental benefits and is vital to the economic growth of metropolitan areas.
SPC will be developing their draft 2015-2018 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) over the next 12 months and they want your input. This is your chance to comment on your ideas, problems, issues and opportunities about our transportation system early in the process of the design of this TIP. Once gathered, your comments will be distributed to a wide network of city and county planning partners, PennDOT representatives and others.
Democratic Mayoral nominee Bill Peduto will testify today before the Pennsylvania Senate and House committees on Urban Affairs. The joint public hearing on the Future of Pennsylvania Cities Large and Small will take place in the Gold Room of the Allegheny County Courthouse, 436 Grant Street, beginning at 10 a.m.
Last night, we made history, and today, we are a step closer to a New Pittsburgh. Our New Coalition was built from the ground up. It encompasses ordinary Pittsburghers from North, South, East and West. Pittsburghers from labor to environmentalists, from women’s groups to youth, from the LGBT community to a broad base of elected officials. We built our support from every race, gender and corner of this city. And, we could not have done this without you.
In 1907 some of the world’s preeminent social scientists embarked on what would become the most comprehensive and impactful study of urban life in the history of our country. The Russell Sage Foundation of New York City funded the Pittsburgh Survey of 1907. The Foundation was a philanthropic fund designed to identify the challenges of urban life and reform city government in a progressive direction to address these challenges head on. The voluminous results of the Pittsburgh Survey were compiled in four books and became a blueprint for the ills of early 20th century urban life and how to solve them. The Survey exposed rampant government corruption, deplorable working conditions in the early factories and mills, poor living conditions for most working-class families, inadequate water and sanitation, and deep divisions among ethnic communities that led to mistrust and exclusion. The conditions exposed by the Survey played a major role in the political activism that led to the hard-won reforms of the Progressive Era and the enactment of labor laws, government reforms, and our social safety nets.
The pension crisis that rocked our city in 2010 was a defining moment. It forced City Council to band together to take quick action to prevent a sell-off of our parking assets that would have badly hurt our city. The plan we put together to prevent that sale was not perfect but it has provided us some real breathing room and a real pathway towards pension solvency. But the 2010 crisis had been brewing for a long time. In fact, Pittsburgh’s pensions have never been fully funded. During the 1970s there were even periods of time when our pension fund was at $0. The pledge of parking tax revenue to shore up the pension fund was only the first step, though. We will have to take further action both at the local and state levels to truly solve the problem. And we have to do it in a way that protects our workers and honors the promise we made to them of a safe and secure retirement.
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.