Council District 6
Councilman Lavelle Volunteers at "Drink for Pink" Event

The Councilman volunteered as a celebrity bartender at this year's "Drink for Pink" event hosted by the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership at the Downtown Fairmount Hotel. Proceeds from the event go to the Susan G. Komen Foundation for breast cancer support and research. Sister events were held in Oakland and the South Side. 

Councilman Lavelle Sworn In for 2nd Term

Councilman Lavelle was sworn in on January 6th for his second term as the representative to District 6. Upon thanking his supporters, the Councilman vowed and asked fellow council members to advocate on behalf of the disenfranchised, stressing the importance of addressing the social issues that affect those in need in the city, in order to make Pittsburgh truly a livable city for all. 

Grand Opening of Hill District Shop n Save

30 years in the making, the Hill District now has a full service grocery with the grand opening on October 17 of the Shop n Save at the Centre Heldman Plaza. Councilman Lavelle, together with other elected officials and community leaders, was present at the opening ceremony as he thanked the perseverance of the community and their work in making the opening a reality.

Groundbreaking of Jeron Grayson Community Center

On a historic day for the Hill, the Grayson family celebrated the grounbreaking of the Jerony Grayson Community Center. The former Ozanam Cultural Center will be redeveloped to offer a haven for at-risk youth in the Hill District. Councilman Lavelle recalled the legendary basketball games that took place at Ozanam, and thanked the Grayson's for bringing back to life a center to serve youth in the community.

Lavelle Attends Groundbreaking for Gardens at Market Square

Councilman Lavelle spoke at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Gardens project at Market Square. It will feature an 18 story high-rise with a hotel, office space, retail, and above ground parking garage. For photos of the event, click here.

Groundbreaking of Addison Terrace Development

On April 22nd, Councilman Lavelle participated in the Addison Terrace groundbreaking ceremony. It is one more sign of the rebirth taking place in the Hill District, joining the YMCA on Centre, the Shop n Save on Centre, and the coming development of the former Civic Arena site as economic engines for the neighborhood and the Pittsburgh region. To view pictures of the ceremony, please visit our photos page.

Welcome to Council District 6!
City Council Gives Preliminary Approval to Amended Land Bank Bill

Land is an original source of material wealth. Communities which own and maintain control and oversight over their land are strong, sustainable communities. With the original introduction by Councilwoman Deb Gross of the Land Bank bill, and given that I represent one of the districts with the greatest number of properties eligible for land banking, I have since worked diligently to ensure that the community be inserted and involved in the process of land acquisition and disposition. 

On Wednesday, April 9, City Council voted to give preliminary approval to an amended version of the Land Bank bill. I supported the changes to the legislation, which include key provisions that ensure greater protections to those communities most affected by the bill:

  • An expanded board of 9 members with stronger representation from the districts with the greatest number of land bank eligible properties
  • Greater protections for owner-occupants whose tax-delinquent properties would be eligible for land banking
  • Stronger language to define requirements for public notice and public participation in the disposition of properties from the land bank 
  • Provision requiring City Council approval for the disposition of land in the first four (4) years of the land bank

The final vote for the Land Bank bill will take place at Council's next meeting on Monday, 4/14.
To view the original version of the bill, as presented by Councilwoman Gross, click here.
To view an amended version of the bill, written by Councilperson Lavelle and Burgess, click here (this version was never formally introduced in Council).
To view the final version of the bill, which received preliminary approval from Council on 4/9, click here.

posted 4/10/14 @ 12:00 am
Councilman Lavelle Visits Pittsburgh Art Institute

Councilman Lavelle was invited by the Pittsburgh Art Institute to take a tour of their facilities in their Downtown location at 420 Boulevard of the Allies. Led by Art Institute President George Sebolt, the Councilman was shown the facilities that house their 4 areas of study: Design, Media Arts, Fashion and Culinary Arts. Part of the discussions involved ways that the Art Institute has and can partner with non profit organization in the District 6 community to assist them with services their students can provide, whether it be via internships or semester projects. For more information on these opportunities, please contact our office at 412-255-2134.

posted 2/28/14 @ 12:00 am
Mentors Community Wealth Building Initiative Presented with $150k Donation for Job Training Program

Councilman Lavelle was present to welcome a $150,000 donation from Chevron to Mentors Community Wealth Building Initiative (MCWBI) job training program. 

Mentors Community Wealth Building Initiative, or MCWBI, connects people in hard-hit neighborhoods with energy careers, particularly in the region's natural-gas industry. The initiative is a mobile skills development program that can be implemented anywhere to reach people in their own neighborhoods. Organizers report the pilot year results are impressive with what they say is an unheard-of 90 percent placement rate in lucrative energy careers.

In exchange for an MCWBI scholarship, participants commit to: 40 hours of skills development; 80 hours of energy certification training; an intensive job-placement process in the region's oil and gas industry; and giving back by helping others take the same path they pursued.

So far, MCWBI participants have been hired at eight different energy companies and are generating a combined personal annual income of more $1 million per year, plus health benefits, for themselves and the Pittsburgh region's economy. MCWBI expects this to double in a few months as the initiative expands its neighborhood base.

 

posted 2/06/14 @ 12:00 am
Councilman Lavelle and Hill CDC Lead Group in Visit to Over the Rhine

On January 22, 2014 Councilman Lavelle, the Hill CDC and other community stakeholders, including Hill District community residents, went to Cincinnati, OH to visit a neighborhood called Over the Rhine. The purpose of the trip was to take away best practices used in the redevelopment of this area as a possible model to pursue in the redevelopment of the Lower Hill District 28 acre site. The Councilman and the group had the opportunity to meet with community residents, a local CDC and a few social service agencies, as they learned about the successes, issues and concerns each has faced in the redevelopment of Over the Rhine. Upon returning the group was able to debrief and set a plan of action moving forward to ensure that the community is involved in the redevelopment of the Lower Hill 28 acre site.

 


Lavelle and group from the Hill listen to Steve Leeper of Cincinnati 3CDC

posted 2/03/14 @ 12:00 am

The bedrock of a sustainable community is an economically stable community. To assist our residents in their search for employment, our office releases an Employment Opportunities Newsletter. To access the 2014 January edition of the employment newsletter, please click here.

 

posted 1/17/14 @ 12:00 am

Upon the announcement from the Manchester Citizens Corporation (MCC) in October of 2013 about the launch of Manchester Renaissance II, the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation (PHLF) confirmed their support of the development project in the form of a $292,000 loan and an $80,000 grant. The funds will go towards the restoration of 1401 Columbus Ave and an additional property on Liverpool St. We are excited and honored to see the support from PHLF, and our office will continue to work closely with the MCC to ensure that this project continues the strong renewal efforts taking place in the Manchester community. 

For more information, click on the header for a link to an article from the PHLF newsletter on their funding support for Manchester Renaissance II.


Google Maps screen capture of 1401 Columbus Ave
2013 
Google Maps 

 

posted 1/02/14 @ 12:00 am
Fit in Six Co-Hosts 2013 Latino Heritage Cup with Mayor's Office and ALPFA

Under the Fit in Six Health and Wellness banner, the office of Councilman Lavelle looks to put together events that promote active and healthy lifestyles. Working together with the Mayor's Office of Youth Policy and ALPFA, the Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting, the District 6 office hosted the 2nd Annual Latino Heritage Cup, a 6 versus 6 soccer tournament held in the Schenley Oval at Schenley Park.

In addition to promoting healthy active lifestyles, the goal of the tournament was to highlight the diversity of cultures Pittsburgh has to offer by bringing together people from different backgrounds through sport. The Latino Heritage Cup is hosted every year during Hispanic Heritage Month, and this year's edition was attended by players from South America, Central America, Africa, the Middle East and Europe.

A total of 12 teams participated, with the champions Barelona, made up of players from Mexico, defeating the Turkish-Iranian team Konya Spor on penalty kicks after a 1-1 draw.  

Thanks go out to the participants, ALPFA and the Mayor's Office for making this year's tournament a success, as we look forward to the next edition in the fall of 2014.


2013 Latino Heritage Cup Champions Barcelona

posted 10/14/13 @ 12:00 am
Commander on Your Corner and Redd-Up Day Hosted in the Hill District

On Friday, September 6, Commander Holmes and the Zone 2 Police hosted a Meet Your Commander on Your Corner event in the Hill District. Pervious Commander meets had been held in Schenley Heights and Lawrenceville. In attendance were representatives from the Department of Public Works, the Bureau of Building Inspection, Mayor Luke Ravenstahl’s office, State Representative Wheatley’s office and Hill District residents and business owners. My office would like to give a huge thank you to the Department of Public Works for outsourcing resources to the Hill District on September 5th and 6th to address issues that Hill District constituents have brought to our attention by calling, writing, e-mailing or pointing out during the walk with the commander. These included service requests such as cutting overgorwn lots, picking up debris and painting crosswalks. We would also like to applaud Commander Holmes and his staff for taking the initiative to host such a productive event. 

This event would not have been possible without the residents and business owners that took advantage of such an opportunity. It was a great example of the positive work that can be accomplished when we all come together to work towards the common goal of improvement of our communities. Thank you all for your pariticpation, and we look forward to promoting similar events in the future.  


Commander Holmes speaks to residents

 

posted 9/17/13 @ 12:00 am
Just Harvest Brings "Fresh Access" to Northside Farmers Market

Just Harvest will bring “Fresh Access,” a program enabling food stamp (SNAP) shoppers to use their benefits at two weekly Pittsburgh Citiparks Farmers Markets. Pittsburgh's farmers markets have long been a popular source of seasonal, locally produced, nutritious and affordable food. However, many local residents are not familiar with the markets or view them as unaffordable for low-income households. Now, in addition to helping people apply for SNAP benefits, Just Harvest’s “Fresh Access” program can also broaden food stamp recipients’ shopping choices while supporting regional farmers.

The program is available at the North Side and East Liberty markets, with plans to expand to all seven city-run sites, which run through November.  Shoppers wishing to pay with credit, debit, or EBT cards should approach the Just Harvest tent at the markets.  There, they swipe their card and receive wooden tokens, which work like cash at the market and are redeemable with all participating vendors. The service is free for food stamp shoppers, though credit and debit card users will be asked to contribute $1 per transaction to help cover program costs.

Vendors at the North Side farmers market sell a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, eggs, baked goods, honey, and coffee, among other things.  The market is located in Allegheny Commons Park at the corner of East Ohio St and Cedar Ave and runs every Friday from 3:30pm-7:30pm through November 22.

posted 8/02/13 @ 12:00 am
District 6 Bids Farewell to City High Intern

The District 6 office bids a grateful farewell to its summer intern Andre Richardson. Mr. Richardson, who will be a senior at Pittsburgh City High Charter School this upcoming school year, served District 6 via the City High internship program for the past 3 months, where he connected constituents to city services and did research for the office. Andre was a bright addition to the District 6 staff, and he will be missed by us all. We wish him the best of luck as he enters his senior year and pursues his expressed interest in a career as an electrician. 


From left, Andre Richardson and Dan Wood

posted 7/25/13 @ 12:00 am
Councilman Lavelle Attends Mackey Lofts Ribbon Cutting in Uptown

On July 15, 2013, I had the opportunity to attend the dedication ceremony of the Mackey Lofts located at 1819 Forbes Avenue in Uptown. Thanks to Action Housing and many funders and lenders, this project went from a vision to a reality.

Several community leaders, members, elected officials, service partners and development team members gathered in the community room where there was much excitement for the big reveal. We made our way to the 5th Floor and walked into a beautiful, spacious loft. Mackey Lofts contains a total of 43 of such units, 18 of which are designed with certain accessibility features, and 10 of which are specifically designed for deaf and deaf-blind residents.

These lofts are a great addition to the community. Affordable housing units are also available, giving residents of all income levels the opportunity to live in a high end residence in a prime location between Downtown and Oakland. 

Those interested in the Mackey Lofts should contact Carol Kelly of Supportive Housing Management Services at 1-800-238-7555 for more information.


Councilman Lavelle at the Mackey Lofts ribbon cutting

posted 7/19/13 @ 12:00 am

Councilman Lavelle has introduced a proposed ordinance that would establish a vacant property registry for abandoned residential properties pending foreclosure. It targets the practice by banks of initiating foreclosure proceedings on the property owner until the point at which the property owner is driven from the home, and then the foreclosure is dismissed prior to a transfer of title. This practice creates a vacant and abandoned property where one did not exist before. A common scenario is that the bank drives away the responsible party who was maintaining the home but then fails to assume responsibility for the property itself. They have created an abandoned property which swiftly falls into disrepair which the City is then forced to suffer costs to address.  

The goal of the vacant property registry is to establish a blight prevention model that incentivizes banks to get their properties up to code, and to clarify property stewardship for abandoned properties that are pending foreclosure. It is intended to reduce and prevent neighborhood blight, to ameliorate conditions that threaten the health, safety and welfare of the public, to promote neighborhood stability and residential owner occupancy by preserving the condition and appearance of residential properties, and to maintain residential property values and assessments.  

Under the vacant property registry, creditors must adhere to the following:

1) When a foreclosing complaint is filed on a residential property, creditors are required to conduct regular exterior inspections of the property to determine whether it has been abandoned.

2) If the property has been abandoned, the creditor is required to register the property with the City of Pittsburgh. Registration shall continue annually until the property is no longer abandoned.

3) Upon registration, the creditor shall maintain the property to City Building Code standards. Duties include securing the property, cutting overgrown vegetation, and keeping the property clear of trash and debris.

The Councilman understands the proposed ordinance to be an important step in cleaning up vacant properties left decaying in the wake of the foreclosure crisis. By holding lender and mortgage servicers accountable for the maintenance of abandoned homes, properties can be saved from further deterioration, staunching one of the wounds that can lead to neighborhood blight. Mortgagees, the lenders who issued the mortgage, and mortgage servicers, the firms hired to manage the properties, are declared owners in the eyes of the law not only in cases where the foreclosure process has been completed, but also in cases where the property has been abandoned and foreclosure is incomplete.

(To review the ordinance, click the header link)

posted 7/09/13 @ 12:00 am

On Tuesday, June 25, Pittsburgh City Council voted down the measure to expand the Mexican War Streets historic district. Although the issue stirred contentious debate from those in favor and in opposition to the application for expansion, a common agreement expressed from both sides was concern over demolitions occurring in the neighborhood.

In order to address the issue of unwanted city-led demolitions, Councilman Lavelle sponsored, together with Council President Harris and Councilwoman Rudiak, a resolution proposing the creation of conservation districts in the City of Pittsburgh. The resolution, which can be accessed here, confirms that the City Planning Department is currently working on the development of historic conservation overlay district guidelines for incorporation into the City Code. Such districts are similar to historic districts in the protection they offer to structures against demolitions.

Additionally, the resolution includes a clause establishing a moratorium on demolitions in the boundaries comprised by the National Register Nomination of 2008, which reflects the boundaries in the application for expansion of the Mexican War Streets historic district. The City’s Public Safety director has agreed to the terms of the moratorium with the exception of structures that pose an imminent public safety threat.

posted 6/26/13 @ 12:00 am
District 6 Office Visits Newly Renovated Point State Park

On Thursday, June 20th, the District Six office took a trip to the newly renovated Point State Park in Downtown. After twelve years and $40 million, the Point State Park officially opened on Friday, June 7, 2013. The beautiful refurbishing of the park signifies a great investment and effort on behalf of the local and state government and private organizations committed to see through the completion of the project. I encourage everyone to visit the park and fountain as it will be a popular summer destination for both resident and visitors to the city of Pittsburgh. For more information on the park, please visit Point Park’s website.


Shanalee Russell of the District 6 Office and Intern Andre Richardson

 

posted 6/25/13 @ 4:10 pm
Oak Hill Commons Ribbon Cutting

On Tuesday, June 18th, the Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh hosted the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Oak Hill Commons building in the Oak Hill neighborhood of Oakland. The event celebrated the completion of a 24,000 square foot research, offfice and commercial facility. It will house a 2,800 square foot grocery store, and the University of Pittsburgh signed a lease for space to house their National Obesity Research Institute.

Councilman Lavelle expressed a sense of pride on behalf of the community for the completion of a project that honors a commitment made to Oak Hill many years ago. He praises the citizens council for having stayed at the table to hold government and civic leaders accountable to the project, pointing to it as a great example of the good work that can be accomplished when the community works together with the government. The project will prove to be a critical piece in making Oak Hill a holistic community.


Oak Hill Commons

 

posted 6/18/13 @ 12:00 am
Councilman Lavelle Introduces Legislation Targeting Dollars for Lower Hill Infrastructure

Councilman Lavelle introduced a legislative package which authorizes the joint filing by the City and the County of an application for federal assistance from TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) Discretionary Grant program dollars. The monies would be used to help finance the infrastructure costs of the former Civic Arena site in the Lower Hill District.

On April 22, 2013, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced a new round of funding under the TIGER grant program. Portions of the Lower Hill infrastructure are eligible to be funded by this program. The Lavelle-sponsored resolutions, bills 2013-1529 and 2013-1530, authorize the filing of the application and the designation of the SEA as the agent of the City and the County in the application process, and as the administrator of the grant, if awarded.

With the clearing of the 28 acres of the Civic Arena, the master planning process for the development is underway. The Sports & Exhibition Authority, a joint City-County public authority, is managing the design and construction of the infrastructure (streets, water lines, sanitary and storm sewer lines).

Councilman Lavelle sees the great potential for economic revitalization offered by the 28 acres of the former Civic Arena site. With infrastructure funding well on its way, the Councilman looks forward to the commencement of vertical construction on site, and ensuring that the Hill District community and the City of Pittsburgh are strengthened by the work on site.

 

posted 5/14/13 @ 12:00 am

At City Council’s regular meeting on April 15th, Councilman Lavelle  introduced an ordinance regulating valet parking in Pittsburgh. The proposed bill would shift management responsibilities of the City’s licensing program for valet parking from the Police Department to the Department of Public Works, would institute penalties for violations, and would require operators to display proper signage for valet drop-off and pick-up points. 

The ordinance is modeled after similar measures taken in Chicago, IL and Charlotte, NC, and includes clauses pulled from Pittsburgh’s police variance regulations. Councilman Lavelle’s decision to sponsor the bill resulted from complaints of improper management of valet services in Market Square. Various reports of improper utilization of public street parking spaces in Market Square, Graeme St, Forbes Ave and Fourth Ave prompted the Councilman to respond with the proposed bill.

To read the legislation in full, click on the title header link.

 

posted 4/18/13 @ 12:00 am
Duquesne University Receives RACP Grant for Uptown Law Clinic Site

The Duquesne University School of Law has been awarded a $500,000 grant from the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) that will be utilized for developing the future site of the school’s Clinical Legal Education Program.

The new clinic, located in the Uptown community at 914 Fifth Avenue, will enable the law school and its students to directly deliver much-needed legal services to citizens in the community. The law school’s seven clinical programs—which benefit underserved families, individuals and communities—address the areas of civil rights, community enterprise, federal practice, pro se motions, unemployment, urban development and veterans.

posted 3/26/13 @ 12:00 am

Office of Councilman R. Daniel Lavelle
414 Grant Street, 5th Floor | City County Building
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
Telephone: 412-255-2134 | Facsimile: 412-255-0737

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