From the Desk of Mayor Office of the Mayor (c) 2017 | City of Pittsburgh | All rights reserved MAYOR RAVENSTAHL INVITES RESIDENTS TO SENIOR CENTERS TO RECEIVE ONE-ON-ONE ASSISTANCE WITH PROPERTY TAX RELIEF <p><span style="text-align: justify;">Mayor Luke Ravenstahl recently announced the next step in the City&rsquo;s continued effort to provide residents with one-on-one assistance to help keep their taxes low in light of Allegheny County&rsquo;s property reassessment. From February 12th through 28th, the City&rsquo;s Real Estate department employees will visit senior centers to help residents take full advantage of the available property tax relief programs. The schedule, as well as important information and a helpful calculation tool, is available at&nbsp;</span><a href="" style="text-align: justify;"></a><span style="text-align: justify;">.&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;">&ldquo;We will continue to provide one-on-one assistance for property owners, much like we helped thousands of residents successfully fight their appeals,&rdquo; Ravenstahl said. &ldquo;If residents need help filling out tax relief forms, or simply want to be certain that they are receiving all of the tax reductions, please call 3-1-1 to schedule an appointment at one of our senior centers. City employees will be happy to talk with you over the phone or meet with you in person.&rdquo;</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">After calling the Mayor&rsquo;s 311 hotline to schedule an appointment at a nearby senior center, residents can ask questions and receive help filling out the Homestead Exemption and Senior Tax Relief forms to ensure maximum benefit. The following senior centers will host meetings at 15-minute intervals from 9 to 11 a.m., with the last meeting ending at 11 a.m.&nbsp;</p> <table align="center" border="1" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="0" style="border-collapse: collapse; border-color: rgb(245, 245, 245);"> <tbody> <tr> <td><strong>Date</strong></td> <td><strong>Location</strong></td> <td><strong>Address</strong></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Feb. 12</td> <td>Greenfield</td> <td>745 Greenfield Ave.</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Feb. 13</td> <td>Lawrenceville</td> <td>4600 Butler St.</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Feb. 14</td> <td>Homewood</td> <td>7321 Frankstown Ave.</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Feb. 15</td> <td>Morningside</td> <td>6944 Presidents Way</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Feb. 18</td> <td>West End</td> <td>80 Wabash St.</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Feb. 19</td> <td>Beechview</td> <td>1555 Broadway Ave.</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Feb. 20</td> <td>Brighton Heights</td> <td>3515 McClure Ave.</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Feb. 21</td> <td>Mt. Washington</td> <td>122 Virginia Ave.</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Feb. 22</td> <td>Sheraden</td> <td>720 Sherwood Ave.</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Feb. 26</td> <td>Hazelwood</td> <td>5344 Second Ave.</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Feb. 27</td> <td>Northside</td> <td>Allegheny Square</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Feb. 28</td> <td>Southside</td> <td>12th St. &amp; Bingham St.</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p style="text-align: justify;">Residents are required to bring the following information to their appointment:</p> <ul> <li style="text-align: justify;">A copy of proof of age or disabiliy.</li> <li style="text-align: justify;">A copy of proof of 2011 Income.&nbsp; Acceptable proof includes:&nbsp; 2011 Federal Income Tax Return, including a 2011 Social Security Statement and W-2 form if employed; or a 2011 Pennsylvania Property Tax - Rent Rebate Return.</li> </ul> <p style="text-align: justify;">To qualify for the tax relief programs, residents must meet the following requirements:</p> <ul> <li style="text-align: justify;">Applicant must have owned and occupied a home, as the principal residence, in Allegheny County for at least (10) continuous years.</li> <li style="text-align: justify;">Applicant must own and occupy the property as principal residence.</li> <li style="text-align: justify;">Owner or spouse must be born before December 31, 1959, or be permanently disabled and over the age of 18.</li> <li style="text-align: justify;">Total household income in 2011, including only 50% of Social Security and SSI, must be less than $30,000.</li> </ul> <p style="text-align: justify;">Last month, City Council passed Mayor Ravenstahl&rsquo;s&nbsp;<a href="">proposed reduced millage rate and tax reduction enhancements</a>&nbsp;to lessen homeowners&rsquo; property taxes &ndash; the millage rate has been reduced from 10.8 to 7.56 mills; the Homestead Exemption was raised from $10,000 to $15,000; and the Senior Tax Relief was increased from 30 percent to 40 percent. The Mayor also unveiled a user-friendly&nbsp;<a href="">Property Tax Worksheet</a>&nbsp;to help residents calculate their 2013 property tax bill.</p> Tue, 12 Feb 2013 15:36:26 -0500 PITTSBURGH CITY NEWS <p style="text-align: justify"><strong>HELP FOR HOMEOWNERS</strong></p> <p style="text-align: justify">We are doing everything we can to reduce the financial burden that Allegheny County&rsquo;s property reassessments have had on our homeowners and small businesses. To that end,&nbsp;I have put forward <a href="">three different measures</a> that will help residents lower their tax bill.</p> <p style="text-align: justify">First, we will cut the City&rsquo;s property taxation rate, commonly known as the millage rate, by 30% from 10.8 to 7.56 mils.&nbsp; This means that the City tax bill of a home valued at $100,000 would be reduced from $1,080 to $756.&nbsp; Second, we will enhance two tax relief programs aimed at protecting our most vulnerable property owners. The Homestead Exemption will increase by 50% to $15,000. The Senior Tax Relief program will increase from 30% to 40%. Lastly, we will continue to provide one-on-one assistance for property owners, much like we helped thousands of residents successfully fight their appeals.</p> <p style="text-align: justify">If you need help filling out tax relief forms, or simply want to be certain that you are receiving all of the tax reductions to which you&rsquo;re entitled, please call my 3-1-1 Response Line or visit <a href=""></a>.<br /> <br /> <strong>BAKERY SQUARE 2.0 BREAKS GROUND</strong></p> <p style="text-align: justify">The success story of Bakery Square is one of a strong public-private partnership that has spurred millions of dollars of private investment in and around East Liberty, Larimer and Shadyside. From the opening of Target, to the historic renovation of the Highland Building, to the dozens of new restaurants and retail ventures, this area is clearly experiencing Pittsburgh&#39;s Third Renaissance.&nbsp; I&#39;m happy to report that the economic momentum continues.</p> <p style="text-align: justify">Today, I announced that local developer Walnut Capital and its partner at Bakery Square, the RCG Longview Fund, have <a href="">officially closed on the purchase of the vacant Reizenstein School</a>, making way for the $100 million Bakery Square 2.0 development.&nbsp; The purchase returns the property to the City&rsquo;s tax rolls after nearly 50 years. Demolition began today for Phase 1 of the project which includes 175 new apartments.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: justify">Bakery Square 2.0 will be another world class development and is expected to create more than 1,200 new jobs. The development builds off of the success of Bakery Square 1.0, both of which are made possible with strong support from my administration and the Urban Redevelopment Authority.&nbsp; Last June, we secured a <a href="">$2 million federal grant</a> that will help prepare infrastructure at the site.</p> <p style="text-align: justify">Bakery Square 1.0 was made possible by $10.5 million in tax increment financing, rehabilitation and new markets tax credits, and other state funds &ndash; all encouraged and supported by my administration.&nbsp; The development has attracted over $50 million in private investment, grown Pittsburgh&rsquo;s high-tech economy by providing office space for new and growing tenants such as Google and UPMC Technology Development, created over 1,000 jobs and generates nearly $7 million annually in new taxes.</p> <p style="text-align: justify">We&#39;re thrilled for the additional&nbsp;jobs, tax revenue, new residents and businesses that the next &quot;Bakery&quot; will bring to our City.</p> <p style="text-align: justify"><strong>CREATIVE WAYS TO ATTRACT MORE REVENUE</strong></p> <p style="text-align: justify">We can generate millions of dollars annually by tastefully allowing the private sector to market goods on City-owned assets. Last July, I <a href="">sent guidelines to City Council</a> that set forth a roadmap of allowances and restrictions for advertising on City assets.&nbsp; Through a robust community input process, this plan has finally passed. I want to thank our law department, City Council and members of our task force for their diligence.&nbsp; Through this program, we will raise more revenue and be able to invest more in our neighborhoods.</p> <p style="text-align: justify"><strong>MORE DEVELOPMENT NEWS</strong></p> <p style="text-align: justify">At their monthly meeting, the City&rsquo;s Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) Board of Directors took the initial steps of approving a historic tax increment financing (TIF) project that will be key to transforming 178 acres of riverfront property in Hazelwood. The former steel mill site, which is owned by Almono LP and comprised of four local foundations and RIDC, has sat vacant for more than 15 years.&nbsp; Upon completion, Almono anticipates that this project will create over 3,000 jobs, increase annual real estate tax revenue from about $100,000 to $ 11 million, and result in a total investment approaching $1 billion. <a href="">Learn more</a> about how a TIF will help make this development a reality and help renew the Hazelwood neighborhood.</p> <p style="text-align: justify">The URA also <a href="">voted to provide the Strip District community group</a> with a $40,000 grant to support the Pittsburgh Public Market&rsquo;s relocation.&nbsp; In 2010, the URA provided a $100,000 grant to help establish the much-anticipated public market in the Strip District. Since then, the Pittsburgh Public Market has created over 100 local jobs and helped 70 businesses establish themselves - resulting in $2.4 million in gross sales. The new location will allow the Market to remain in the Strip District while doubling its available space, and adding essential amenities such as air-conditioning, heating and restrooms.</p> <p style="text-align: justify"><strong>Coming Up...</strong><br /> The Pittsburgh Promise is truly one of the most amazing scholarship programs in the world. As its co-founder, I want to make sure it is impacting as many youths as possible. In a few weeks, we will announce a volunteer-fueled program that will help make more of our young people &#39;Promise&#39; ready. Stay tuned and stay warm!</p> <div> <table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100%"> <tbody> <tr> <td>&nbsp;</td> <td width="150"> <p style="line-height: 18px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; color: rgb(85,85,85); font-size: 13px"><span style="color: rgb(0,0,0)">Sincerely,</span><br /> <img src="" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(0,0,0)">Luke Ravenstahl<br /> Mayor, City of Pittsburgh</span></p> </td> <td>&nbsp;</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p style="text-align: center"><em><span style="color: #000000">Stay connected to your City to get the latest news and information about developments happening in your neighborhood. &quot;</span><a href="">Like</a><span style="color: rgb(0,0,0)">&quot;</span><span style="color: #000000">&nbsp;the City of Pittsburgh on Facebook,&nbsp;</span><a href="">follow</a>&nbsp;<span style="color: #000000">us&nbsp;on Twitter and encourage your family and friends to</span>&nbsp;<a href=";f=63">stay informed</a><span style="color: rgb(0,0,0)">,&nbsp;too.</span></em></p> </div> <div>&nbsp;</div> Wed, 23 Jan 2013 14:26:48 -0500 Happy New Year, From Mayor Luke <p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Dear Friends,</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; From &nbsp;more Third Renaissance excitement, to a population that is growing, it&rsquo;s been another fantastic year for the City of Pittsburgh.&nbsp; Let&rsquo;s take a look back at 2012&rsquo;s top accomplishments. With strong partnerships and positive momentum, Pittsburgh&rsquo;s resurgence is poised to continue across the City in 2013.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;I hope you enjoy reflecting on the year&rsquo;s successes and I wish you a safe, joyous and blessed New Year.</p> <table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100%"> <tbody> <tr> <td style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</td> <td width="150"> <p style="font-size: 13px; line-height: 18px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; color: rgb(85, 85, 85); text-align: justify;"><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">Sincerely,</span><br /> <img src="" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">Luke Ravenstahl<br /> Mayor, City of Pittsburgh</span></p> </td> <td style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <h2 style="text-align: justify;">Top 10 of 2012</h2> <h4 style="text-align: justify;">10. Getting Greener and Saving Green</h4> <h4 style="text-align: justify;">9. Powering Up More Innovation</h4> <h4 style="text-align: justify;">8. &nbsp;Downtown on the Move</h4> <h4 style="text-align: justify;">7. &nbsp;Safer Streets - Again</h4> <h4 style="text-align: justify;">6.&nbsp;It&rsquo;s Official: We&rsquo;re Growing</h4> <h4 style="text-align: justify;">5.&nbsp;Premiere-Ready Pittsburgh</h4> <h4 style="text-align: justify;">4. Improving Pittsburgh, One Volunteer at a Time</h4> <h4 style="text-align: justify;">3. First G-20, then One Young World</h4> <h4 style="text-align: justify;">2. &nbsp;Pittsburgh Reigns as One of the World&rsquo;s Most Livable Cities</h4> <h4 style="text-align: justify;">1. Pittsburgh&rsquo;s Third Renaissance Extends its Reach</h4> <div style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</div> <div style="text-align: justify;"><strong>10. Getting Greener and Saving Green</strong></div> <div style="text-align: justify;">The year 2012 marked two milestone environmental improvement projects. First, we began and completed <u><a href="">$3.4 million in energy-efficient upgrades</a></u> to our historic, 100-year-old City-County Building. Thanks to a competitive federal grant that paid for the entire project, these improvements to lighting, heating and cooling will save taxpayers about a half-million dollars a year in reduced energy costs, while reducing our carbon footprint &ndash; something we call &ldquo;green for green.&rdquo; In addition, we completed the first phase of our&nbsp;<u><a href="">LED Streetlight Conversion Project</a></u>. Dozens of local business districts now have LED streetlights, which promote safety with brighter lighting and significantly reduce energy costs. Also In 2012, vacant lots throughout the City were transformed into community gardens and green spaces, and our environmental services fleet welcomed new waste haulers that run on clean-burning (and less costly) natural gas.</div> <div style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</div> <div style="text-align: justify;"><strong>9. Powering Up More Innovation</strong></div> <div style="text-align: justify;">If we&rsquo;re going to keep growing and improving, we have to keep raising the bar. Working &nbsp;with university and business leaders, we launched&nbsp;<u><a href="">PowerUp Pittsburgh</a></u>, an initiative that improves collaboration between local government and the start-up sectors to create more jobs. In 2012, I directed the City&rsquo;s Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) to create the City&rsquo;s first department that focuses solely on leveraging Pittsburgh&rsquo;s burgeoning high-tech and innovation climate to create more jobs. This governmental office, called the&nbsp;<u><a href="">Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship</a></u>, makes sure that local government and the innovation and technology communities collaborate as much as possible to support entrepreneurs . As part of this collaboration, we welcomed the City&rsquo;s first-ever Innovation and Entrepreneurship Manager. Working with Google, Carnegie Mellon and others, we are leading the effort to create our first competitive &lsquo;app&rsquo; contest, called the&nbsp;<u><a href="">Steel City Codefest</a></u>, to be hosted this February.</div> <div style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</div> <div style="text-align: justify;"><strong>8. &nbsp;Downtown on the Move</strong></div> <div style="text-align: justify;">The year 2012 marked another great year for Downtown development. PNC began constructing its $400 million &quot;green&quot; skyscraper and we welcomed new businesses - and of course new residents. In addition, we collaborated with stakeholders to launch a plan to&nbsp;<u><a href="">attract more retail development</a></u>, turned <a href=""><u>Saks department store</u></a>&nbsp;into an opportunity and began the&nbsp;<u><a href="">renovation of historic structures</a></u>&nbsp;along Wood Street. Our&nbsp;<a href=""><u>Project Pop Up: Downtown</u></a>&nbsp;initiative&nbsp;has been successful beyond belief -&nbsp;converting a dozen vacant storefronts into quirky, fun and innovative art and retail displays and&nbsp;recently winning an&nbsp;<u><a href="">international award</a></u>&nbsp;for improvements in public spaces.</div> <div style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</div> <div style="text-align: justify;"><strong>7. Safer Streets &ndash; Again</strong></div> <div style="text-align: justify;">This past year, we experienced our 6th year of 40-year historically low crime rates. Our crime continues to decrease at a higher rate than in cities of comparable size and scope, but we have to keep working hard to ensure that every neighborhood block is safe. That&rsquo;s why we launched more community-oriented policing initiatives in 2012 - an effort to drive down crime even lower. Our&nbsp;<u><a href="">Block Watch in a Box</a></u>&nbsp;toolkit provides information and resources to help communities create effective and sustainable safety watch programs, or re-energize ones that already exist. Our Neighborhood Camera System is deployed throughout the City, and we installed more cameras in more business districts. We&rsquo;ve made historic investments to modernize and improve the&nbsp;Bureau of Police, with millions invested in 2012 to buy new patrol cars and safety equipment.</div> <div style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</div> <div style="text-align: justify;"><strong>6. It&rsquo;s Official: We&rsquo;re Growing</strong></div> <div style="text-align: justify;">Last year, U.S. Census data showed that for the first time in a long time our City was getting younger, with more 24-29 year olds living in Pittsburgh. While that news supported our efforts to keep the &ldquo;brain gain&rdquo; flowing from our universities, our population still wasn&rsquo;t officially &ldquo;growing.&rdquo; Well, almost 30 years since our City&rsquo;s economy hit its lowest point, I am thrilled to say that we are officially a growing City! In the most recent U.S. Census report, Pittsburgh&nbsp;<u><a href="">gained population</a></u>. Thanks to the <u><a href="">Pittsburgh Promise scholarship program</a></u>&nbsp;- which has helped 3,800 students pursue higher education, more urban living opportunities and a growing economy, Pittsburgh&#39;s population growth between 2010 and 2011 even surpassed our <u><a href="">surrounding suburban areas</a></u>.&nbsp;</div> <div style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</div> <div style="text-align: justify;">Also, locally based real estate analysts, RealSTATS, said that Pittsburgh has&nbsp;<u><a href="">one of the best housing markets</a></u>&nbsp;as compared to over 400 regional communities. Also of note, Downtown and part of the Strip District was awarded the 2012 Metropolitan Pittsburgh Silver Medal for real estate growth, and Pittsburgh ranked 4th in home sale increases from years 2000 to 2011. These numbers tell us that our strategy to drive more residential development Downtown and into more neighborhoods is working.</div> <div style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</div> <div style="text-align: justify;"><strong>5. Premiere-Ready Pittsburgh</strong></div> <div style="text-align: justify;">Tom Cruise confessed to&nbsp;<u><a href="">falling in love with Pittsburgh</a></u>&nbsp;when he was here filming &ldquo;Jack Reacher&rdquo; last fall. It&rsquo;s not only Pittsburgh&rsquo;s excitement and beauty, but &nbsp;our talented workforce and the hospitality of local residents and businesses that led Cruise and Paramount Pictures to select Pittsburgh to host the movie&rsquo;s U.S. premiere. While the red carpet extravaganza was downplayed out of respect for the 26 victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy, we should all be extremely proud to have&nbsp;<u><a href="">hosted our first premiere in decades</a></u>.<br /> <br /> From &ldquo;The Dark Knight Rises,&rdquo; to &ldquo;Perks of Being a Wallflower,&rdquo; to hosting our first U.S. premiere in decades - Pittsburgh&rsquo;s mark on Hollywood is on the rise. Thanks to the Pittsburgh Film Office&rsquo;s hard work and dedication, aided greatly by the Film Tax Credit committed by Governor Corbett, Western Pennsylvania has experienced over a half-billion dollars of investment in the past five years due to the film industry. &ldquo;Jack Reacher&rdquo; alone had a $50 million budget, most of which was pumped right here into Pittsburgh&rsquo;s local economy, supporting our small businesses.&nbsp;</div> <div style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</div> <div style="text-align: justify;"><strong>4. Improving Pittsburgh, One Volunteer at a Time</strong></div> <div style="text-align: justify;">It&rsquo;s been less than two years since we launched&nbsp;<u><a href="">servePGH</a></u>, a high-impact volunteer strategy that harnesses the power of our residents to improve our neighborhoods. Funded by a competitive grant awarded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the program has grown significantly in 2012. Thousands of residents are now engaged ServePGH volunteers. They&rsquo;ve participated in a number of projects, from sprucing up vacant lots, to mentoring at-risk youths, to removing litter from City streets. Most impressively, our staff has been able to leverage over $1 million in federal, state and foundation funding to further the impact servePGH is making in our communities. &nbsp;In 2013, we will launch more servePGH programs that will&nbsp;<u><a href="">create edible gardens</a></u>, green City rooftops and provide more young students with mentors.</div> <div style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</div> <div style="text-align: justify;"><strong>3. First G-20, then One Young World</strong></div> <div style="text-align: justify;">Almost three years to the date of hosting what many say was the first-ever safe and successful economic summit of its kind, Pittsburgh was handpicked to host the&nbsp;<u><a href="">2012 One Young World Summit</a></u>. Once again, the eyes of the world were upon our beautiful City as more than 1,500 future leaders from 190 countries visited Pittsburgh &ndash; making it the largest representation of countries next to the Olympics and the United Nations. &nbsp;Pittsburgh became the first U.S. city to host the summit, following in the footsteps of London and Zurich. We were thrilled and excited to showcase our beautiful City to so many young leaders from across the globe, and to have them discuss solutions to the world&rsquo;s greatest challenges in a City that is world renowned for its innovation, hard work and &ldquo;get it done&rdquo; attitude.</div> <div style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</div> <div style="text-align: justify;"><strong>2. Pittsburgh Reigns as One of the World&rsquo;s Most Livable Cities</strong></div> <div style="text-align: justify;">The accolades kept rolling in this year, including from the prestigious magazine,&nbsp;<em>The Economist</em>, which has ranked Pittsburgh a top &ldquo;most livable&rdquo; city in the world (Pittsburgh and Honolulu were the only U.S. cities to make the list). Pittsburgh was recognized as a &quot;Top 10 Comeback City&quot; by&nbsp;<em>Forbes</em>&nbsp;and touted as a great place for residents of all ages - we&#39;re one of &quot;<u><a href="">The 20 Cities with the Happiest Young Professionals</a></u>&quot; (<em></em>), one of &quot;<u><a href="">10 Best Cities to Raise a Family</a></u>&quot; (<em>The Street</em>), a &quot;<u><a href="">Best City for Successful Aging</a></u>&quot; (The Milken Institute) and the&nbsp;<u><a href="">#1 City for Veterans</a></u>&nbsp;(The USAA). Pittsburgh is one of only a handful of metro regions that have added more than 10,000 private-sector jobs since the beginning of the recession in 2007, and one of three U.S. cities to have&nbsp;<u><a href="">fully &ldquo;recovered.&rdquo;</a>&nbsp;</u><em>Site Selection Magazine</em>&nbsp;ranked Pittsburgh No. 3 in the U.S., and first in the Northeast, &nbsp;for the number of new and expanded corporate facilities among metropolitan areas with more than one million people. As the accolades poured in, we kept up by listing them&nbsp;<u><a href="">here</a></u>.</div> <div style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</div> <div> <div style="text-align: justify;"><strong>1. Pittsburgh&rsquo;s Third Renaissance Extends its Reach</strong></div> <div style="text-align: justify;">It&rsquo;s hard to miss the surge of development in neighborhoods like Downtown, the Strip District and the East End. As Mayor, my goal has been to make sure that this momentum is felt by every resident in all of Pittsburgh&#39;s 90 neighborhoods. While we are well on our way, there is still much more work to be done. Over the past six years, the URA invested $70 million in more than 390 neighborhood small business and commercial real estate developments. This has created and retained more than 4,100 jobs and leveraged a total investment of $400 million. Here are a few of those projects* in a neighborhood near you. (*This is just a small sample of URA-supported projects.)</div> <ul> <li style="text-align: justify;"><strong>NORTH &ndash;</strong> The legendary&nbsp;<u><a href="">Garden Theater block</a></u>, located on Federal North Street in the <strong>Central Northside</strong>, is being revived. In 2007, the URA acquired the vacant Garden Theater property and nearby vacant properties. Now, developers are taking interest and the block&rsquo;s 10 mostly vacant buildings will soon be transformed from long-time eyesores to destination restaurants and loft-style living. In 2012, leases were signed by popular restaurants such as Picola Forno. Get ready for more ribbon cuttings in 2013.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li style="text-align: justify;"><strong>SOUTH &ndash;</strong> With URA support, a new grocery store in <strong>Beechview</strong> opened and is thriving. The Authority also helped other small businesses open nearby, including the Crested Duck Charcuterie and taco joint, Casa Rasta. In 2012, the City&#39;s&nbsp;<u><a href="">Biz Buzz program</a></u>&nbsp;provided mini-grants to support business district growth in Beechview, <strong>Brookline</strong> and other City neighborhoods. Soon, construction will begin on the $6.6 million Brookline Boulevard Improvement Project, and in the <strong>South Side</strong>&nbsp;a&nbsp;<u><a href="">multi-use stadium recently opened</a></u>&nbsp;and construction on the beautiful&nbsp;<u><a href="">South Shore Riverfront Park</a>&nbsp;</u>has been completed.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li style="text-align: justify;"><strong>EAST &ndash;</strong> 2012 has been a great year for many East End neighborhoods. Developments and projects like&nbsp;<u><a href="">Bakery Square 2.0</a></u>&nbsp;and the&nbsp;<u><a href="">East Liberty Transit Center</a></u>&nbsp;will spur hundreds of millions of dollars in private investment in and around <strong>East Liberty</strong>. Other highlights include plans to turn the long-time vacant&nbsp;<u><a href="">Highland Wallace Building</a></u>&nbsp;into apartments. The URA&rsquo;s purchase of the 100-year-old building has resulted in the tax credits and financing needed to overcome the hurdles of historic renovation. After decades of vacancy, this building will soon see life. The Mayor&rsquo;s Storefront Renovation Program&nbsp;cleaned and beautified City storefronts, such as Kevin Sousa&rsquo;s Salt of the Earth restaurant in <strong>Garfield</strong>. In <strong>Homewood</strong>, construction began for new&nbsp;<u><a href="">mixed-income residential units</a></u>&nbsp;&ndash; the largest development project Homewood has experienced in decades.&nbsp;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li style="text-align: justify;"><strong>WEST &ndash;</strong> From a new barbeque restaurant in <strong>Sheraden</strong>, to a new Pittsburgh Steak Hoagie Shop in <strong>Elliott</strong>, to the region&rsquo;s only Steinway-authorized piano gallery&nbsp;<a href=""><u>opening its doors</u></a>&nbsp;in the <strong>West End</strong>&rsquo;s growing business district &ndash; 2012 was a banner year for Pittsburgh&rsquo;s western neighborhoods. Residents celebrated the recent opening of&nbsp;<a href=""><u>West End Works</u></a>, a neighborhood employment center that will connect residents to available jobs and training opportunities, and welcomed&nbsp;luxury townhomes to be built near the&nbsp;West End&nbsp;Overlook. Additionally, through the Mayor&rsquo;s&nbsp;<a href=""><u>Neighborhood Stabilization Program</u></a>, seven foreclosed homes will be rehabilitated and sold to new homeowners, and the URA issued a request for proposals last month to bring a&nbsp;<a href=""><u>grocery store</u></a>&nbsp;to Sheraden.&nbsp;<br /> &nbsp;</li> </ul> <div> <div style="text-align: justify;"><strong>WHAT TO EXPECT IN 2013</strong></div> <div style="text-align: justify;">Improving Pittsburgh for each and every resident will continue to be our priority in the New Year. Key to this is passing balanced budgets that hold the line on taxes and invest in infrastructure and quality-of-life improvements &ndash; like paving and improved recreation opportunities for Pittsburgh&rsquo;s children and seniors. &nbsp;I&rsquo;m happy to say that the Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority approved our <a href=""><u>2013 Budget and Five-Year Plan</u></a>. This budget marks the seventh year in a row &nbsp;where we have balanced our budget without reducing services or raising taxes.<br /> &nbsp;</div> <div style="text-align: justify;">Along that same line, our efforts to ease the financial burden for homeowners caused by the County&rsquo;s property reassessment have proved successful. City employees worked hard to help thousands of homeowners fight for a fair and accurate property&nbsp;reassessment through subsidized appraisals, counseling and legal help. I&rsquo;m proud to say that our efforts have helped Pittsburgh homeowners reduce their assessments by over $30 million.&nbsp;<br /> &nbsp;</div> <div style="text-align: justify;">As it has for the last five years, I&#39;m confident that our City will continue to get even safer. Pittsburgh&#39;s Third Renaissance will reach more neighborhoods, creating more jobs in places like the Hill District, Homewood, Brookline and along the Allegheny Riverfront. And with engaged residents volunteering to take care of our City - one young person, and one block at a time - 2013 will be another banner year for Pittsburgh.<br /> &nbsp;</div> <div style="text-align: justify;">Pittsburgh has turned the corner and has become an international model of how to grow jobs and innovate, despite a challenging national economy. There are more people employed in Pittsburgh than ever before and for the first time in decades our population is growing. But there is still much more work to do to ensure that even more jobs are created in our City and that Pittsburgh remains America&rsquo;s &ldquo;most livable&rdquo; city for years to come.</div> <div style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</div> </div> </div> <div style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</div> <div style="text-align: justify;"><em style="text-align: center;"><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">Stay connected to your City to get the latest news and information about developments happening in your neighborhood. &quot;</span><a href="">Like</a><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">&quot;&nbsp;the City of Pittsburgh on Facebook,</span>&nbsp;<a href="">follow</a>&nbsp;<span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">us&nbsp;on Twitter and encourage your family and friends to&nbsp;</span><a href=";f=63">stay informed</a><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">,&nbsp;too.</span></em></div> Mon, 31 Dec 2012 15:39:05 -0500 PITTSBURGH CITY NEWS <p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>PITTSBURGH RECOGNIZED AS RECESSION PROOF</strong></p> <p style="text-align: justify;">The world keeps recognizing Pittsburgh&rsquo;s comeback. Last week, The Brookings Institution named Pittsburgh <a href="">one of only three U.S. cities</a> that have fully recovered from the economic recession. There are more people employed in Pittsburgh today than ever before and our population is on the upswing.&nbsp; But there is still much more work to be done, and we cannot rest on our laurels. Instead, we must view these accolades as a challenge to keep improving.&nbsp; Through partnerships that nurture innovation and job growth, and balanced budgets that hold the line on taxes and invest in programs to keep our neighborhoods safe and clean, together we will make sure that Pittsburgh stays on top.</p> <p><strong>FIRST-EVER APP DEVELOPMENT COMPETITION WILL BENEFIT RESIDENTS, BUSINESSES</strong></p> <p style="text-align: justify;">One of the ways we&rsquo;re working to nurture Pittsburgh&rsquo;s growing high-tech economy is through our <a href="">PowerUp Pittsburgh</a> initiative. Through PowerUp, we created government&rsquo;s first Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and we&rsquo;re working closely with the university community to drive more innovation and nurture start-ups. Recently, we partnered with Google, Carnegie Mellon University and others to launch the City&rsquo;s first civic software &ldquo;app&rdquo; development competition, called <a href="">Steel City Codefest</a>.&nbsp; The first-of-its-kind event will challenge our best and brightest to turn government data into an app that benefits Pittsburgh residents, visitors or businesses. Coders will stay overnight at Pittsburgh Google offices where they will have 24 hours to create an app. I can&rsquo;t wait to see what they come up with!</p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>&#39;HOLLYWOOD OF THE EAST&#39; HOSTS&nbsp;<em>JACK REACHER</em> HOLLYWOOD PREMIERE</strong></p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Another economic generator that has recently become more prominent is Pittsburgh&rsquo;s growing film industry. Our ability to attract feature films to Pittsburgh is one part of our Third Renaissance. Film and television production generates millions of dollars into the local economy, provides thousands of jobs to residents, and increases business for our hotels, restaurants and small businesses. This Saturday, Pittsburgh will host its first U.S. premiere of a Hollywood movie in decades. I am so honored to welcome Paramount Pictures, Tom Cruise and the cast of Jack Reacher back to Pittsburgh. Tom Cruise and Paramount had such an enjoyable time in Pittsburgh that they chose to host the premiere at SouthSide Works Cinema before the movie opens nationwide next week.&nbsp; Hollywood directors are talking about Pittsburgh&rsquo;s beauty and hospitality, and people throughout the world are seeing our great City on the big screen once again. We should all be immensely proud of this accomplishment.</p> <p><strong>&#39;TIS THE SEASON...</strong></p> <p style="text-align: justify;">I hope your holiday season is as enjoyable and full of Christmas spirit as mine has been. This past weekend, I had the opportunity to travel to New York City for The Pennsylvania Society&rsquo;s annual holiday dinner. While New York City is one of the most beautiful places to be, especially during the holiday season, Pittsburgh offers something especially unique. Market Square and Downtown holiday shopping and dining is in full effect right now, with many opportunities to celebrate the holiday season in the heart of our City. I encourage you and your family to take advantage of <a href="">Downtown&rsquo;s holiday festivities</a>.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong>Coming up&hellip;</strong></span><br /> On Friday, we will officially welcome Pittsburgh&rsquo;s first-ever downtown soccer stadium to Station Square. This state-of-the-art multi-sport and entertainment venue will be home to the Pittsburgh Riverhounds Professional Soccer Club and host events ranging from concerts to youth lacrosse games. If you haven&rsquo;t seen the new stadium yet, you can experience the breathtaking views of our skyline while going for a skate. During this year&rsquo;s winter months, it will also be home to the new Penguins Pond - a unique outdoor ice rink provided by the Pittsburgh Penguins. For more information on Pittsburgh&rsquo;s newest stadium and winter ice rink, visit <a href="">Highmark</a>.</p> <div> <table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100%"> <tbody> <tr> <td>&nbsp;</td> <td width="150"> <p style="font-size: 13px; line-height: 18px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; color: rgb(85, 85, 85);"><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">Sincerely,</span><br /> <img src="" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">Luke Ravenstahl<br /> Mayor, City of Pittsburgh</span></p> </td> <td>&nbsp;</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p style="text-align: center;"><em><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">Stay connected to your City to get the latest news and information about developments happening in your neighborhood. &quot;</span><a href="">Like</a><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">&quot;&nbsp;the City of Pittsburgh on Facebook,</span>&nbsp;<a href="">follow</a>&nbsp;<span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">us&nbsp;on Twitter and encourage your family and friends to&nbsp;</span><a href=";f=63">stay informed</a><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">,&nbsp;too.</span></em></p> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p> Tue, 11 Dec 2012 12:18:26 -0500 PITTSBURGH CITY NEWS <p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>ANOTHER BALANCED BUDGET WITH NO TAX INCREASES</strong><br /> <br /> I enjoyed kicking off the holiday season with residents and colleagues by lighting the City&#39;s holiday tree on Light Up Night and presenting our City&#39;s financial outlook for the next five years.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; For the seventh year in a row, this $470 million <a href="">2013 Operating and Capital Budget and Five-year Plan</a> is balanced, contains no new taxes, tax increases or layoffs, and enhances the City&rsquo;s commitment to investing in neighborhoods and infrastructure. In 2013, we&rsquo;ll invest again in a robust paving program, fund recreation activities for our children and seniors, and provide top-of-the-line vehicles and safety equipment for our public safety workers.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Take a look some of our top capital projects in the proposed $65 million 2013 capital budget:</p> <ul> <li style="text-align: justify;">$16 million in park, playground and other recreational improvements, including the building of two new spray parks</li> <li style="text-align: justify;">$10 million to ensure another robust paving program</li> <li style="text-align: justify;">$7 million toward ongoing efforts to modernize and improve the City&rsquo;s fleet</li> <li style="text-align: justify;">$3 million to demolish dangerous, condemned structures</li> <li style="text-align: justify;">$2 million to purchase new, top-of-the-line public safety radios, which will ensure that this important communication system is sustainable for years to come</li> </ul> <p style="text-align: justify;">The backbone of the City&rsquo;s financial success has been our commitment to paying down past debts, resulting in the bond rating upgrades needed to responsibly borrow funds for a more impactful capital program. Almost one decade ago, our City was facing bankruptcy and entered Act 47 oversight. Today, however, we&rsquo;ve brought the promise back to Pittsburgh. Our fiscal overseers will soon determine whether or not we should be relieved from their oversight, citing that we are now financially sound. Pittsburgh&rsquo;s Third Renaissance is in full swing and is marked by job creation and neighborhood development throughout the City. We can say &ndash; for the first time in my lifetime &ndash; that Pittsburgh&rsquo;s population is growing again. Crime is at a historic low, having decreased for six straight years. And perhaps most importantly, at over 1.2 million, there are more jobs in Pittsburgh today than ever before.<br /> <br /> Even more impressive is that we did all of this despite a national economic recession. While other governments are increasing taxes and laying off workers, we&rsquo;ve been able to balance our budgets and save for a rainy day.&nbsp; We must keep working together to ensure we remain a financially strong city. While we&rsquo;ve brought the promise back to Pittsburgh, there is still much more work to do.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>PITTSBURGH&rsquo;S THIRD RENAISSANCE REACHES MORE NEIGHBORHOODS</strong></p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Neighborhoods that have successful community development plans are better positioned to attract investment, which spurs job creation and economic development. That&rsquo;s why we worked&nbsp; to create an innovative program that will help ensure that our City&rsquo;s economic momentum is felt in all of Pittsburgh&rsquo;s 90 neighborhoods. When the City sold three Downtown properties to PNC to make way for their building of the world&#39;s tallest green skyscraper, we took the proceeds from the sale to help create a program that encourages development in more neighborhoods outside of Downtown. Called the <a href="">Pittsburgh Neighborhood Renaissance Fund</a>, this program recently awarded about $300,000 to local community organizations - helping them to do everything from creating community plans, to attracting new development that will welcome more residents and visitors.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>GET DOWNTOWN FOR THE HOLIDAY SEASON</strong></p> <p style="text-align: justify;">I had a great time kicking off the City&rsquo;s holiday celebrations on Light Up Night. Over 800,000 residents and visitors attended this highly anticipated annual two-day event. From the various tree lightings, to the Macy&rsquo;s window displays, to the carriage parade and fireworks - this event brings great joy to everyone as we welcome the holiday season.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">If you haven&rsquo;t been Downtown for the holidays, now is the time to make it a family tradition. With new restaurants, stores and entertainment in Market Square, I&rsquo;m excited to report that we expect dining and shopping at the heart of our City to increase this year. To encourage this momentum, we started our <a href="">Free Holiday Parking Program</a>. You can park for free after 4 p.m. at any Parking Authority garage in the City through December 22. This, combined with Market Square&rsquo;s valet parking program, will make it easier for you to get Downtown this holiday season.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>DEK HOCKEY COMES TO A COMMUNITY NEAR YOU</strong></p> <p style="text-align: justify;">The City has teamed up with the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation and Highmark to bring an exciting new initiative, called <a href="">Project Power Play</a>, which encourages more young people to stay active and learn the value of teamwork. This collaborative effort will bring four new, full-sized dek hockey courts to City neighborhoods. At last week&rsquo;s <a href="">ribbon cutting of the Banksville Park</a> court, I was amazed by the size and quality of these courts. From dasher boards to state-of-the-art surfaces, I know Pittsburgh&rsquo;s young people are going to give these courts a lot of use.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>DOWNTOWN RETAIL PLAN UNVEILED</strong></p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Last week, alongside key stakeholders, I outlined a new strategy to attract and retain retail businesses in Downtown Pittsburgh. The three-year <a href="">Downtown Action Strategy</a> plan aims to improve the retail experience in the City&rsquo;s urban core by creating a new branding and marketing strategy, improving public infrastructure and space, and providing recommendations for new policies and incentives to enhance the neighborhood&rsquo;s safety and walkability.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Over the last few years, Downtown Pittsburgh has begun its transformation into a vibrant 24/7 destination spot, and the much-anticipated Downtown Action Strategy plan is a big step forward in furthering this vision.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><em>COMING UP...</em></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>BE AN ANGEL THIS WINTER</strong></p> <p style="text-align: justify;">As snow moves into the forecast, it&rsquo;s time to call on Pittsburgh&rsquo;s culture of neighbors helping neighbors. Last year, our Snow Angels program was very successful, minimizing the hardship of snow removal for almost 200 seniors and residents in need. The <a href="" style="color: rgb(17, 85, 204);" target="_blank">Snow Angels</a><span class="Apple-converted-space">&nbsp;</span>program, a<span class="Apple-converted-space">&nbsp;</span><a href="" style="color: rgb(17, 85, 204);" target="_blank">servePGH</a><span class="Apple-converted-space">&nbsp;</span>initiative, matches able-bodied volunteers with senior and physically disabled residents in their own neighborhood to remove snow from their sidewalks and walkways. Launched last winter, Snow Angels removed over 27,000 square feet of snow.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Residents may sign up to volunteer or apply for assistance at<span class="Apple-converted-space">&nbsp;</span><a href="" style="color: rgb(17, 85, 204);" target="_blank"></a>. It&rsquo;s important that residents stay safe and are looked after by loved ones all year round, but especially during the difficult winter months. I encourage volunteers and recipients to sign up today and help ensure a safe, pleasant winter for everyone.</p> <p style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; line-height: 18px; orphans: 2; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-size-adjust: auto; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p> <table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100%"> <tbody> <tr> <td>&nbsp;</td> <td width="150"> <p style="font-size: 13px; line-height: 18px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; color: rgb(85, 85, 85);"><span style="color:#000000;">Sincerely,</span><br /> <img src="" /><br /> <span style="color:#000000;">Luke Ravenstahl<br /> Mayor, City of Pittsburgh</span></p> </td> <td>&nbsp;</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p style="text-align: center;"><em><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">Stay connected to your City to get the latest news and information about developments happening in your neighborhood. &quot;</span><a href="">Like</a><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">&quot;&nbsp;the City of Pittsburgh on Facebook,</span>&nbsp;<a href="">follow</a>&nbsp;<span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">us&nbsp;on Twitter and encourage your family and friends to&nbsp;</span><a href=";f=63">stay informed</a><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">,&nbsp;too.</span></em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Tue, 27 Nov 2012 12:56:25 -0500 PITTSBURGH CITY NEWS <p style="text-align: justify; "><strong style="text-align: justify; ">WE&#39;VE BROUGHT BACK PITTSBURGH&#39;S PROMISE</strong><br /> <br /> <span style="text-align: justify; ">Tomorrow, our City&rsquo;s financial oversight Act 47 coordinators will hold a public meeting at 3 p.m. in City Hall, where they will make the case that their work in Pittsburgh is done. As the coordinators put it, &ldquo;</span><a href="" style="text-align: justify; ">The City of Pittsburgh is no longer financially distressed</a><span style="text-align: justify; ">.&rdquo; As Mayor, and someone who has had to make difficult decisions to right our financial ship, I couldn&rsquo;t agree more.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify; ">When the City entered oversight in 2003, it was an extremely difficult time for employees and residents. Our workforce was cut by a quarter, pools and recreation centers closed and for years our neighborhoods didn&#39;t get the investment they deserved. On top of that, residents and families were still leaving our City.</p> <p style="text-align: justify; ">Nine years later, however, we&rsquo;ve brought the promise back to Pittsburgh. Despite an economic recession, we&rsquo;ve been able to balance our budgets and save for a rainy day without raising taxes. We went under a &ldquo;debt diet&rdquo; and paid off over a quarter-million in past administrations&rsquo; debt. Financial agencies have taken note of our responsible management by giving us nine bond rating upgrades.</p> <p style="text-align: justify; ">Today, Pittsburgh&rsquo;s Third Renaissance is in full swing and marked not just by Downtown&rsquo;s transformation, but by job creation and development happening in many other neighborhoods. Crime has decreased for six straight years, and for the first time in decades our population is on the rise. We&rsquo;re deploying innovative strategies to reinvest in our neighborhoods, like opening more cost-effective spray parks in place of pools, partnering with the district attorney to crack down on <a href="">disruptive properties</a> and launching a <a href="">citizen-service program</a> that transforms vacant lots into community gardens. And we&rsquo;re investing in our future by caring deeply about the lives of our young people through programs like <a href="">The Pittsburgh Promise</a>.</p> <p style="text-align: justify; ">Third-party publications keep recognizing Pittsburgh as a top place to live, work and visit. As the world continues to point out Pittsburgh&rsquo;s transformation, we&rsquo;re excited that our financial overseers are ready to remove the proverbial &ldquo;dark cloud&rdquo; of financial oversight. We believe that our financial policies have stood the test of time and that we will remain a city that attracts &lsquo;most livable&rsquo; ratings and more residents for years to come. &nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: justify; "><strong>MORE JOBS AND DEVELOPMENT</strong><br /> <br /> An exciting new development in the Bryant Street business district of Highland Park provides a great example of how Pittsburgh&rsquo;s Third Renaissance touches all corners of the City. Recently, I joined Senator Ferlo and community members to celebrate the start of construction of a new 12,000-square-foot, mixed use building that will provide new housing and retail space in the heart of Highland Park&rsquo;s business district. The project will help build the <a href="">Bryant Street corridor</a> and go a long way toward realizing the vision of a vibrant neighborhood commercial district.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: justify; ">In addition, we launched a new program that gives business districts tools to market their businesses. With the help of the <a href="">URA&rsquo;s Biz Buzz program</a>, new banners donned Bryant Street for the event.</p> <p style="text-align: justify; "><strong>KICK-OFF THE HOLIDAY SEASON IN MARKET SQUARE</strong></p> <p style="text-align: justify; ">Next Friday, Nov. 16, we&#39;ll officially kick off the holiday season here in Pittsburgh when I light the City&#39;s holiday tree on the City-County Building&#39;s portico and the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership kicks off the much-anticipated <a href="">Light Up Night</a> festivities. This year&#39;s 52nd annual celebration boasts exciting performances stunning parades, and spectacular fireworks, along with the highly anticipated Market Square Season of Lights. New this year is the Peoples Gas Holiday Market - a European-style market&nbsp;featuring unique collectibles, handmade ornaments,&nbsp;live performances and a whimsical, full-sized Santa&rsquo;s house offering free photos with Santa in&nbsp;exchange for non-perishable items and donations to benefit the Greater Pittsburgh Community&nbsp;Food Bank. The market, and all the Light Up Night festivities, will enhance the Downtown experience, and I&#39;m excited for the opportunity to showcase the heart of our City - and its $5 billion in investment - to workers, residents and visitors from around the country.<br /> <br /> &nbsp;</p> <table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100%"> <tbody> <tr> <td>&nbsp;</td> <td width="150"> <p style="font-size: 13px; line-height: 18px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; color: rgb(85, 85, 85); ">Sincerely,<br /> <img src="" /><br /> Luke Ravenstahl<br /> Mayor, City of Pittsburgh</p> </td> <td>&nbsp;</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p style="text-align: justify; "><em style="text-align: justify; "><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); ">Stay connected to your City to get the latest news and information about developments happening in your neighborhood. &quot;</span><a href="">Like</a><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); ">&quot;&nbsp;the City of Pittsburgh on Facebook,</span>&nbsp;<a href="">follow</a>&nbsp;<span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); ">us&nbsp;on Twitter and encourage your family and friends to&nbsp;</span><a href=";f=63">stay informed</a><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); ">,&nbsp;too.</span></em></p> Thu, 08 Nov 2012 16:19:01 -0500 PITTSBURGH CITY NEWS <p style="text-align: justify; "><span style="color:#000000;"><strong>PITTSBURGH ROLLS OUT THE RED CARPET FOR YOUNG WORLD LEADERS</strong></span></p> <p style="text-align: justify; "><span style="color:#000000;">It&rsquo;s hard to believe that it&rsquo;s been three years since Pittsburgh hosted a safe and successful G-20 </span><a href=";feed=47#axzz2A3OjWpTV">economic summit</a><span style="color:#000000;">.&nbsp; In true Pittsburgh spirit, the community once again rallied together to roll out the red carpet for another major world stage event: the third annual</span> <a href="">One Young World Summit</a><span style="color:#000000;">. For four days, more than more than 1,300 young leaders under the age of 30 from nearly 200 countries <a href="">came to our City</a>&nbsp;to discuss solutions for the world&rsquo;s greatest problems. World leaders such as Bill Clinton and Kofi Annan addressed delegates, and forums focused on everything from education to global health.<br /> <br /> Once again, Pittsburgh was hand-picked after shining above cities from around the world and became the first U.S. city to host the summit after London and Zurich.&nbsp; We should all feel very proud that our City&rsquo;s story of renewal provided the perfect backdrop for this international summit. Our diversified economy, job growth and ability to &ldquo;</span><a href="">come back</a><span style="color:#000000;">&rdquo; - facilitated by a Renaissance that is transforming Downtown and reaching all Pittsburgh neighborhoods - is truly the talk of the world.&nbsp;<br /> <br /> Through local tours and family dinners, delegates experienced our beautiful City and the hospitality of our residents. The impressions we made upon these leaders will no doubt pay off for us one day. Already, Pittsburgh&rsquo;s transformation story hit all over the globe as more than 20 international media outlets reported on the summit.</span><br /> &nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: justify; "><span style="color:#000000;"><strong>PARTNERSHIPS&nbsp; FURTHER PITTSBURGH&#39;S THIRD RENAISSANCE</strong></span></p> <p style="text-align: justify; "><span style="color:#000000;">Last week was an exciting week for neighborhood development. Not only is Downtown&rsquo;s economic momentum picking up, but the East Liberty and Hill District communities will soon see ground break on two development projects. Through my strong partnership with the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation, we launched a</span> <a href="">new loan program</a> <span style="color:#000000;">that will encourage more retail ventures in historic downtown buildings. Also, the Urban Redevelopment Authority board voted on a plan that will</span> <a href="">transform the Saks building</a><span style="color:#000000;"> into a new parking garage with first floor retail space and more residential development.&nbsp;&nbsp;<br /> <br /> Thanks to $1.6 million in federal grants awarded through President Obama&#39;s administration, a key vacant building that connects East Liberty to Garfield will be redeveloped into a boutique hotel, and the much-anticipated Hill District grocery store will</span> <a href="">soon be constructed</a><span style="color:#000000;">. In an extremely competitive economic climate, federal funds can be difficult to come by. However, when elected officials and the community all march in the same direction, we can and will move development forward. I want to thank Senator Casey and Congressman Doyle for their support in securing this grant that will create hundreds of jobs and strengthen our neighborhoods.</span></p> Tue, 23 Oct 2012 13:21:21 -0400 PITTSBURGH CITY NEWS <p style="text-align: justify; "><span style="color:#000000;"><strong>PROMISES KEPT</strong></span></p> <p style="text-align: justify; "><span style="text-align: justify; "><span style="color:#000000;">Investing in our young people remains the key to unlocking our City&rsquo;s full potential.&nbsp; As co-founder and board member of the innovative </span><a href="">Pittsburgh Promise</a> <span style="color:#000000;">scholarship program, I am thrilled to report on the progress we have made to date, as well as our ongoing efforts to positively impact even more young people. The Promise recently issued their 2012 Report to the Community.&nbsp; Here are three top highlights:</span></span></p> <ul> <li style="text-align: justify; "><span style="color:#000000;"><strong>3,285 high school graduates</strong> have pursued higher education thanks to Promise scholarships. This year, we celebrated the first four-year Promise graduates, many of whom are starting their professional careers with growing Pittsburgh companies like PNC and UPMC.</span></li> <li style="text-align: justify; "><span style="color:#000000;">Since 2007, </span><a href=";view=article&amp;id=8243:fulfilling-the-promise-city-graduation-rate-on-the-rise&amp;catid=38:metro&amp;Itemid=27">public school high school completion rates</a><span style="color:#000000;"> have <strong>steadily increased by 8 percentage points</strong>, from 63% to 71%. Our goal is to keep pushing &lsquo;promise-readiness&rsquo; in our classrooms and to achieve an 85% completion rate, which is higher than the national average.</span></li> <li style="text-align: justify; "><span style="color:#000000;">76% of Promise Scholars stay in their post-secondary education program. This is <strong>10 percentage points above the national college retention rate of 66%</strong>. Promise counselors stay in close contact with scholars in order to encourage their success after high school. Once again, our goal is to get this completion rate to 85%.</span></li> </ul> <p style="text-align: justify; "><span style="color:#000000;"><span style="text-align: justify; ">Five years ago, we embarked on this exciting program - a step that was not without risk, considering the goal to raise $250 million on the front end of an economic downturn. Today, we are more confident than ever that Pittsburgh has embraced this opportunity. Our 10-year fundraising goal of $250 million is already almost 70% met! Thanks to UPMC&rsquo;s generous commitment, we have an aggressive plan to reach our full $1.50 match for every dollar raised.</span></span></p> <p style="text-align: justify; "><span style="color:#000000;"><span style="text-align: justify; "><strong>MORE RESULTS</strong></span></span></p> <p style="text-align: justify; "><span style="color:#000000;">After decades of decline, our population is on the upswing and is</span> <a href="">growing younger</a><span style="color:#000000;">. Enrollment in public schools is stabilizing and college attendance among high school graduates appears to be rising. We believe, however, that we can still do more to attract families to Pittsburgh. In an effort to do just that, The Promise has launched campaigns to recruit the Latino population to the region and to feature Promise Scholars now &quot;At Work.&quot; Also, in conjunction with local realtors, The Promise has created and distributed the first 250 drop-down yard signs with the message, &ldquo;Eligible for Up to a $40,000 College Scholarship per Child.&rdquo; </span></p> <p style="text-align: justify; "><span style="text-align: justify; "><span style="color:#000000;">Renowned publications &ndash; from CNN, to Forbes, to Parents Magazine &ndash; continue to recognize Pittsburgh&rsquo;s commitment to young people through The Promise. In fact, just yesterday the program was lauded in this </span><a href="">Forbes Magazine article</a><span style="color:#000000;">. Through The Promise, we have given hope to more young people to pursue their dreams. We are developing an educated workforce to fill the jobs of our growing economy and we are attracting more families to our City.&nbsp; I encourage you to be a part of The Promise&rsquo;s success. There are many ways to do this. You can</span> sign up <span style="color:#000000;">to </span><a href="">mentor a 6th grader</a><span style="color:#000000;">,</span> <a href="">read to early elementary students</a><span style="color:#000000;">, or of course, </span><a href="">donate to The Promise</a>.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify; "><br /> <span style="color:#000000;"><strong>SAFETY FIRST</strong></span></p> <p style="text-align: justify; "><span style="color:#000000;">The safety of our residents and families is our highest priority. This week, we are celebrating </span><a href="">National Fire Prevention Week</a><span style="color:#000000;">. I encourage residents to replace the batteries in their smoke alarms, establish a two-ways-out escape plan and get to know their local firefighters. Our firefighters and public safety professionals are the best at what they do - saving lives - but we need residents to take the necessary steps to prevent fires, stay safe and know how to react in an emergency.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify; "><span style="color:#000000;">City firefighters will offer free home safety inspections and distribute free batteries for smoke detectors. If you, an elderly neighbor or a loved one are in need of an inspection, call my 3-1-1 Response Line.</span></p> <table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100%"> <tbody> <tr> <td>&nbsp;</td> <td width="150"> <p style="font-size: 13px; line-height: 18px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; color: rgb(85, 85, 85); ">Sincerely,<br /> <img src="" /><br /> Luke Ravenstahl<br /> Mayor, City of Pittsburgh</p> </td> <td>&nbsp;</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p style="text-align: justify; "><em style="text-align: justify; "><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); ">Stay connected to your City to get the latest news and information about developments happening in your neighborhood. &quot;</span><a href="">Like</a><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); ">&quot;&nbsp;the City of Pittsburgh on Facebook,</span>&nbsp;<a href="">follow</a>&nbsp;<span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); ">us&nbsp;on Twitter and encourage your family and friends to&nbsp;</span><a href=";f=63">stay informed</a><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); ">,&nbsp;too.</span></em></p> Tue, 09 Oct 2012 15:09:31 -0400 PITTSBURGH CITY NEWS <h2 style="text-align: justify; ">Pittsburgh&#39;s 7th Consecutive Balanced Budget with No Tax Increases or Service Cuts</h2> <p style="text-align: justify; "><span style="text-align: justify; ">Yesterday, I introduced Pittsburgh&rsquo;s </span><a href="" style="text-align: justify; ">2013 budget and updated five-year financial plan</a><span style="text-align: justify; ">.&nbsp; Over the past six years, we have worked hard to bring financial stability back to City government. This budget continues to chart the course of responsible fiscal leadership that has been the hallmark of my administration.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify; ">During my time in office, debt has been reduced by almost a quarter of a billion dollars.&nbsp; This has led to nine bond rating upgrades, and allowed us to address even more neighborhood infrastructure needs, like street paving and the demolition of abandoned structures. For five years, we operated on a pay-as-you-go basis by paying for capital needs without borrowing. This is historic. We remain one of the only cities in recent history to have operated without borrowing for five straight years. Most remarkably, we were able to achieve all of this without raising a single tax. In fact, we have reduced taxes - we lowered parking taxes and eliminated certain business taxes altogether.<br /> <br /> In our proposed budget, we will continue to invest in neighborhood infrastructure, public safety and technology to make our City even more livable. We will maintain a prudent savings account, while funding a pay-as-you-go capital budget and contributing an additional $25 million toward our pension fund than is required by law. There will be no tax increases, layoffs or cuts, and we will continue our commitment to community improvements.<br /> <br /> Pittsburgh&#39;s future economic prospects couldn&#39;t be brighter. While governments at every level across the country seem to be raising taxes and cutting services, Pittsburgh&rsquo;s economy continues to grow as we advance Pittsburgh&rsquo;s Third Renaissance in every neighborhood.</p> <h2><span style="color:#000000;">Partnerships to Move Pittsburgh Ahead</span></h2> <p style="text-align: justify; ">At some point, we all have sat in a long line of standstill traffic, watching our fuel tank gradually deplete. Well, now thanks to a partnership with Carnegie Mellon,&nbsp; we are deploying cutting-edge traffic signal control technology that automatically adjusts and coordinates signal timing to accommodate varying traffic volumes. The&nbsp; <a href="">Traffic21 Initiative</a> has proven to dramatically reduce vehicle emissions and long travel times in the bustling Penn Avenue and Penn Circle intersection - home of East Liberty&rsquo;s Target store -&nbsp; where vehicle wait time was reduced by an impressive 40%. This technology is the most sophisticated in the world and will soon be deployed to more City intersections. Our foundation community - especially the Henry L. Hillman Foundation, the Heinz Endowments and the R.K. Mellon Foundation - stepped up to fund this initiative, recognizing the positive impact it will have on our City, our region and quite possibly the world. Strong partnerships such as this are vital to our Third Renaissance and better position us to grow more jobs by bringing this innovative technology to market right here in Pittsburgh.</p> <p style="text-align: justify; ">Initiatives like Traffic 21 and our City&#39;s first 25-year transportation plan, called <a href="">MovePGH</a>, helped us to be selected as a recipient of the <a href="">IBM Smarter Cities Challenge Grant</a>. Today, I welcomed a team of IBM consultants and technology specialists who will spend the next three weeks working with our planners to outline more innovative transportation strategies that will help make Pittsburgh safer, smarter and even more attractive to prospective residents and businesses.</p> <h2 style="text-align: justify; "><span style="color:#000000;">Join the Fight Against Breast Cancer</span></h2> <p style="text-align: justify; ">Join Pittsburgh in the fight against Breast Cancer by purchasing Pink Ribbon Bagels during October at any local Panera Bread.&nbsp;In addition,&nbsp;<span style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; ">I encourage our City of Champions to defeat Cleveland in a friendly competition that will help raise thousands of dollars to benefit breast cancer patients. The city that purchases the most Pink Ribbon Bagels in October will receive a $10,000 charity donation! &nbsp;</span><br /> <br /> Panera Bread will donate all proceeds from each Pink Ribbon Bagel sold to support the Patient Navigator program funded by Magee-Womens Research Institute &amp; Foundation.&nbsp; The program acts as a support network for any newly diagnosed cancer patients.&nbsp; For more information and to pre-order your Pink Ribbon bagels, please visit <a href=""></a>.</p> <table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100%"> <tbody> <tr> <td>&nbsp;</td> <td width="150"> <p style="font-size: 13px; line-height: 18px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; color: rgb(85, 85, 85); ">Sincerely,<br /> <img src="" /><br /> Luke Ravenstahl<br /> Mayor, City of Pittsburgh</p> </td> <td>&nbsp;</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p style="text-align: justify; ">&nbsp; &nbsp;</p> Tue, 25 Sep 2012 15:33:44 -0400 Living Healthy in Pittsburgh <div style="text-align: justify; ">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<br /> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Though I was away most of last week at the Democratic National Convention, I made it back in time to be part of <a href="">Pittsburgh&rsquo;s first-ever &ldquo;health report card.&rdquo;</a> Dr. Mehmet Oz, from <em>The Dr. Oz Show</em>, and UPMC health experts conducted 15-minute physicals on about 1,000 Pittsburgh residents, screening for major health markers like blood sugar and pressure, cholesterol, weight and waist size. &nbsp;When my staff talked me into participating, I thought that as a runner and former athlete, I&rsquo;d knock it out of the ballpark.</div> <div style="text-align: justify; ">&nbsp;</div> <div style="text-align: justify; ">I was in for a rude awakening. As Dr. Oz measured my waist, he kindly advised that I start working out more and eating more vegetables. The overall takeaway for Pittsburgh residents was the same: we need to watch our weight and eat healthier. Now, it&rsquo;s time to drive that message home.</div> <div style="text-align: justify; ">&nbsp;</div> <div style="text-align: justify; ">I&rsquo;ve committed to leading by example. Last weekend I jogged on our beautiful riverfront trails and am working hard to get back into tip-top shape. I encourage all Pittsburghers to join me. Here in the City of Pittsburgh, we&rsquo;re taking steps to make healthy living easier for our 3,000 employees and over 300,000 residents:</div> <div style="text-align: justify; ">&nbsp;</div> <ul> <li style="text-align: justify; ">The City&rsquo;s workforce is getting healthier thanks to CityFit, our employee wellness initiative. Through this program, we&rsquo;ve introduced fun activities and opportunities to increase employee activity and engagement. With free yearly health screenings and wellness coaches - and even subsidize gym memberships and other weight loss programs - the results of this program have soared beyond our expectations. Employees have lost an impressive combined <a href="">one ton</a>&nbsp;of weight, and we&rsquo;re saving thousands of taxpayer dollars through decreased health care costs.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li style="text-align: justify; ">To help residents commit to healthier eating, there are now over a dozen City-sponsored and private <a href="">farmers markets</a>. Every weekday through November 21, you can buy fresh, local produce at one of our neighborhood markets.&nbsp;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li style="text-align: justify; ">Getting active in Pittsburgh is becoming easier and more popular too, especially for runners. &nbsp;Since we worked hard to bring back the <a href="">Pittsburgh Marathon</a>&nbsp;almost 5 years ago, the number of Pittsburgh residents registered to run has increased by over 50%. This year, the <a href="">City&rsquo;s Great Race</a> experienced its fastest sellout and record-breaking registration.&nbsp;</li> </ul> <div style="text-align: justify; ">As the holidays quickly approach us, let&#39;s set our goal now to eat healthy and stay active.&nbsp; We all have to do our part individually, but it&#39;s even more important that we teach our children the importance of good health. I encourage you and your family to join me on the path to greater health.&nbsp;</div> <div style="text-align: justify; ">&nbsp;</div> <div style="text-align: justify; "><span style="color:#000080;">Coming Up This Week&hellip;</span></div> <div style="text-align: justify; ">Tomorrow, stakeholders and I will break ground for the Lawrenceville neighborhood&rsquo;s newest housing development, called&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Hatfield + Home</a>. Soon, over a dozen quality, energy-efficient homes will be on the market only a block from Pittsburgh&rsquo;s beautiful riverfront. The $4.1 million project is a key element in our&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Allegheny Riverfront Vision Plan</a>,&nbsp;which aims to capitalize on our greatest natural asset &ndash; our rivers &ndash; by connecting more neighborhoods to riverfronts through projects such as this. Hatfield+Home is another step forward for Lawrenceville&rsquo;s recent renewal. In just the last few years, URA supported Lawrenceville housing projects have resulted in an impressive $35 million total investment and hundreds of new construction jobs.</div> <table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100%"> <tbody> <tr> <td>&nbsp;</td> <td width="150"> <p style="font-size: 13px; line-height: 18px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; color: rgb(85, 85, 85); ">Sincerely,<br /> <img src="" /><br /> Luke Ravenstahl<br /> Mayor, City of Pittsburgh</p> </td> <td>&nbsp;</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <hr /> <p style="text-align: justify; "><em><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); ">Stay connected to your City to get the latest news and information about developments happening in your neighborhood. &quot;</span><a href="">Like</a><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); ">&quot;&nbsp;the City of Pittsburgh on Facebook,</span>&nbsp;<a href="">follow&nbsp;</a><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); ">us&nbsp;on Twitter and encourage your family and friends to&nbsp;</span><a href=";f=63">stay informed</a><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); ">,&nbsp;too.</span></em></p> <div>&nbsp;</div> Tue, 11 Sep 2012 14:29:40 -0400 PITTSBURGH CITY NEWS <p style="text-align: justify; ">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; I hope that you and your family enjoyed the long holiday weekend. I was honored to walk alongside thousands of union members and their families at yesterday&rsquo;s annual Labor Day parade. We marched together to honor our City&rsquo;s rich labor history, to celebrate the numerous contributions of local workers and to remember that we must continue to work together to bring even more jobs to Pittsburgh.</p> <p style="text-align: justify; ">Despite our nation&rsquo;s economic challenges, Pittsburgh&rsquo;s job market remains strong. Our unemployment rate is well below the national average, and we are one of only five metro areas to see jobs increase over the last decade (and the only city outside of Texas).&nbsp; Our skilled labor force is building new skyscrapers and renovating buildings on time and under budget. Soon, they will build the world&rsquo;s largest green skyscraper for PNC.</p> <p style="text-align: justify; ">But it&rsquo;s not just Downtown that is experiencing job creation and investment. Last week, a <a href="">housing and real estate report</a> released by South Side-based real estate analysts, RealSTATS, underscored Pittsburgh&rsquo;s comeback story. The report analyzed 404 communities in the region and identified top performing neighborhoods based on eight factors, including home price appreciation, number of home sales and increases in number of home sales. &nbsp;The City&rsquo;s Second Ward &ndash; which is comprised of Downtown and part of the Strip District &ndash; was awarded the 2012 Metropolitan Pittsburgh Silver Medal.&nbsp; Pittsburgh took the Gold Medal in median home price percentage appreciation and the bronze in the increase in number of home sales from years 2000-2011.</p> <p style="text-align: justify; ">Six Pittsburgh neighborhoods, including the Northside, South Side, and Lawrenceville, made the top 10 list in the average home price annual percentage appreciation, measured from 2000 to 2011. That&rsquo;s right, six City neighborhoods beat out 400 regional communities! Helping to drive this neighborhood investment is our City&#39;s economic development agency, the Urban Redeveloment Authority (URA).</p> <p style="text-align: justify; ">Under my administration, the URA has invested in affordable and market-rate housing projects in many City neighborhoods. In addition, our 10-year <a href="">Tax Abatement Program</a> has led to millions in residential investment, especially Downtown. The URA invests strategically into housing projects that will spur a great deal of private investment. For example, our effort to renew the Garden Theater Block in the Central North Side has resulted in over $12 million in new neighborhood housing, commercial and retail projects.</p> <p style="text-align: justify; ">Pittsburgh&rsquo;s Third Renaissance is about revitalizing our City and its 90 neighborhoods. It&rsquo;s about welcoming new development, while embracing historic renovation - and keeping residents here, while attracting new families . I look around our vibrant city and see a place where people want to live and where companies want to invest. None of this would be possible if it weren&rsquo;t for so many great partners, especially our well-trained and dedicated workforce, that has worked with us to rebuild Pittsburgh from the &quot;smoky city&quot; of yesterday to America&rsquo;s &quot;Most Livable City&rdquo; of today.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100%"> <tbody> <tr> <td>&nbsp;</td> <td width="150"> <p style="font-size: 13px; line-height: 18px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; color: rgb(85, 85, 85); ">Sincerely,<br /> <img src="" /><br /> Luke Ravenstahl<br /> Mayor, City of Pittsburgh</p> </td> <td>&nbsp;</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p style="text-align: justify; ">If you get the chance, check out two other recent reports by Bloomberg News and PittsburghTODAY that highlight &nbsp;Pittsburgh&rsquo;s economic success.</p> <ul> <li style="text-align: justify; ">A recent study by <a href="">Bloomberg news</a> said that Pittsburgh has the most recession-resilient labor market &ndash; with its greatest strength in housing.</li> <li style="text-align: justify; "><a href=";utm_source=PittsburghTODAY%3A+Another+record+set&amp;utm_campaign=August+30%2C+2012+Eblast&amp;utm_medium=email">PittsburghToday</a> analyzed that the number of unemployed in the region declined by 1.2 percent in July 2012 compared to July of 2011. Most interestingly, the total labor force figure of 1.25 million is the highest labor force figure in the region&rsquo;s history.</li> </ul> Tue, 04 Sep 2012 14:48:25 -0400 Pittsburgh City News <p style="text-align: justify; "><span style="color:#000000;">This afternoon, I will be one of eight national leaders to present to top federal officials and community and business leaders at the <a href="">White House Forum on Urban Innovation</a>.&nbsp; I&#39;m excited to highlight Pittsburgh&#39;s ability to create strong partnerships with the public and private sectors to transform neighborhoods and create jobs. While we have many success stories - from The Pittsburgh Promise scholarship program, to Downtown&#39;s revitalization -&nbsp; there&#39;s no better time to talk about our work to transform an abandoned bakery into high-tech office, commercial and retail space. </span></p> <p style="text-align: justify; "><span style="color:#000000;"><span style="font-size: 14px; "><strong>More Bakery Investment</strong></span><br /> I was thrilled to welcome federal officials to our City last week to announce that the U.S. Economic Development Administration has awarded the City a $2 million infrastructure grant for </span><a href="">Bakery Square 2.0</a><span style="color:#000000;">. </span><span style="color:#000000;">The overwhelming success of Bakery Square led to this new $120 million&nbsp;development that will provide more office and high-tech lab space right down the street from our universities. </span><span style="color:#000000;">In a competitive grant climate, the parterships we&#39;ve formed and the success stories we can tell are helping us leverage federal grant dollars to attract millions in private funding to create more jobs. This latest grant dovetails off of the Department of Transportation&#39;s recent award of $15 million to help create a rejuvenated transit center in the heart of East Liberty. </span></p> <p style="text-align: justify; "><span style="color:#000000;"><strong><span style="font-size: 14px; ">Greener Buildings Downtown</span></strong><br /> I&rsquo;m proud to say that I&rsquo;ve teamed up with the </span><a href="">Green Building Alliance</a><span style="color:#000000;"> and other stakeholders to make Downtown Pittsburgh the greenest urban area in the country by establishing the</span> <a href="">Pittsburgh 2030 District</a><span style="color:#000000;">. By year 2030, more than 60 properties in the heart of our City, totaling 23 million square feet, will become more efficient and sustainable through reduced energy consumption.</span> The good news is - we&#39;re already getting started. Work has already begun to weatherize and retrofit the historic City-County Building thanks to a $3.4 million federal grant. This project creates jobs, reduces the buidling&#39;s carbon footprint by 800 metric tons and saves taxpayers $475,000 every year in reduced energy costs.</p> <p style="text-align: justify; "><span style="color:#000000;"><strong><span style="font-size: 14px; ">More Accolades</span></strong><br /> Pittsburgh continues to receive worldwide recognition for its successful transition from an industrial steel powerhouse to an innovative, green and safe City that cares about its residents, welcomes its visitors and embraces its opportunities.&nbsp;For the second year in a row, The Economist </span><a href="">ranked Pittsburgh 30th</a> <span style="color:#000000;">among the top 50 most livable cities in the world &ndash; the only U.S. city to make the list. To complement that, The Milken Institute ranked Pittsburgh 10th on its first &ldquo;</span><a href="">Best Cities for Successful Aging</a><span style="color:#000000;">&rdquo; index.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify; "><span style="color:#000000;"><strong style="font-size: 14px; ">Responsible Transit Funding</strong><br /> Earlier this week, the County Executive proposed the use of</span> <a href="">RAD<span style="color:#000000;"> </span></a><span style="color:#000000;">funds to fund the County&#39;s portion of the Port Authority bail out. Nobody wants a real, sustainable solution to the County&#39;s latest transit crisis more than I do. And nobody is saying &#39;no&#39; to this proposal.&nbsp; But now&#39;s the time to ask important questions about how this $3 million in taxpayer-funded RAD money will impact the future funding of our City&#39;s parks, libraries, museums and arts and cultural institutions. These assets are too important to our residents to not take a hard, thoughtful look at this funding plan.<br /> <br /> We must work together to find the most responsible funding solution that funds transit without harming the assets that make Pittsburgh &#39;America&#39;s Most Livable City.&#39;</span></p> <hr /> <p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt; text-align: justify; ">&nbsp;</p> <p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt; text-align: justify; "><em><span style="color:#000000;">Stay connected to your City to get the latest news and information about developments happening in your neighborhood. &quot;</span><a href="">Like</a><span style="color:#000000;">&quot;&nbsp;the City of Pittsburgh on Facebook,</span> <a href="">follow </a><span style="color:#000000;">us&nbsp;on Twitter and encourage your family and friends to </span><a href=";f=63">stay informed</a><span style="color:#000000;">,&nbsp;too.</span></em></p> <p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt; text-align: justify; ">&nbsp;</p> <table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100%"> <tbody> <tr> <td>&nbsp;</td> <td width="150"> <p style="font-size: 13px; line-height: 18px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; color: rgb(85, 85, 85); "><span style="color:#000000;">Sincerely,</span><br /> <img src="" /><br /> L<span style="color:#000000;">uke Ravenstahl<br /> Mayor, City of Pittsburgh</span></p> </td> <td>&nbsp;</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p>&nbsp;</p> Wed, 29 Aug 2012 10:29:48 -0400 $400 MILLION DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITY: THE FACTS <p style="text-align: justify">I write to you today to inform you of our work to spur nearly a half-billion dollars in private investment along 55 acres of riverfront between Downtown and the Strip District.</p> <p style="text-align: justify">Recently, a City Councilman has refused to introduce legislation that calls for the creation of public infrastructure by designating this site a tax increment financing district, or TIF district. By holding this legislation, he has stopped healthy public discussion on how this designation will make&nbsp;this&nbsp;project&nbsp;possible and create 3,100 jobs, $22 million in annual tax revenue and further grow our City&#39;s population and vitality. Along with new housing, commercial and retail space, this project provides the incredibly rare opportunity to add public recreation amenities along a beautiful stretch of riverfront that is right next to Downtown.</p> <p style="text-align: justify"><strong>What is a TIF?</strong><br /> A TIF does not forgive existing taxes, but dedicates a portion of future tax revenue to help &nbsp;fulfill the public obligation to create the&nbsp;public infrastructure that makes a new development safe, practical, and possible.&nbsp;A TIF typically helps&nbsp;to build&nbsp;parking facilities, safe and accessible roads and sidewalks, and sewer tie-ins. For example, you&#39;ve surely shopped and dined at, biked to and soon may boat to&nbsp;the South Side Works. More than 15 years ago, City Council introduced, discussed and ultimately voted on a TIF district for a portion of the Lower South Side Riverfront. The TIF district proposed for the Lower Strip District Riverfront follows the same framework and multi-phase strategy that was enacted at the South Side Works.&nbsp; Were it not for the TIF district designation, there would be&nbsp; no South Side Works.<br /> <br /> <strong>Engaging the Public</strong><br /> Three-and-a-half years ago, I launched the <a href="">Allegheny Riverfront Vision Plan</a>. I strongly believe that if we better connect our riverfronts with our neighborhoods, we can not only improve the quality of life&nbsp;for our residents and businesses, but tap into&nbsp;tremendous economic development and recreational opportunities. This Vision Plan brought together the community and stakeholders in order to&nbsp;provide a roadmap on exactly how to do this.&nbsp;The public&nbsp;process included monthly meetings, focus groups, multiple public forums, a <a href="">project website</a> and Facebook page. The plan called for the creation of a Green&nbsp;Boulevard along the riverfront railway, and a public process on how to get that done also&nbsp;began. Again, it included monthly meetings, focus groups, multiple public forums, a <a href="">project website</a> and Facebook page.</p> <p style="text-align: justify">This Vision Plan, completed last year, calls for both passive green space in some areas&nbsp;and development in others. As we implement parts of this vision plan, more public process continues. The &nbsp;55 acre site we&#39;re talking about now has resulted in more than 50 meetings with project stakeholders and multiple communications with adjacent property owners, community groups and elected officials.</p> <p style="text-align: justify"><strong>The Bottom Line</strong><br /> We must encourage constructive, not destructive, debate so that Pittsburgh&#39;s Third Renaissance continues.&nbsp; By creating strong public-private partnerships, like the one we&#39;ve created with Buncher, we can&nbsp; transform a sea of parking lots into new job and entrepreneurial opportunities. We can create&nbsp;&nbsp;new addresses for the growing number of people moving into our City,&nbsp;and we can provide Pittsburghers and visitors with&nbsp;more public access to our beautiful riverfronts.<br /> <br /> Acting URA Director Robert Rubinstein, who was instrumental in the development of the Pittsburgh Technology Center and the South Side Works, outlines in a letter the facts regarding the need for the Lower Strip District&nbsp;TIF district. When legislation is introduced at City Council, more &quot;public process&quot; is triggered through constructive debate and public hearings that encourage Q&amp;A with project leaders. While&nbsp;his letter is long and full of detail it is worth reading, especially&nbsp;if you care deeply about jobs and development in this City. You will learn a lot about how development gets done and become better informed of our public process and sheer hard work to move our City forward.<br /> <br /> If you get a minute, <a href="">read this letter</a> and become better informed.<br /> &nbsp;</p> <table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100%"> <tbody> <tr> <td>&nbsp;</td> <td width="150"> <p style="font: 13px/18px Arial,sans-serif; color: rgb(85,85,85)">Sincerely,<br /> <img src="" /><br /> Luke Ravenstahl<br /> Mayor, City of Pittsburgh</p> </td> <td>&nbsp;</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p>&nbsp;</p> Wed, 13 Jun 2012 13:08:54 -0400 PITTSBURGH'S THIRD RENAISSANCE HEATS UP <p style="text-align: justify; ">The message you received yesterday may not have allowed you to access the links. The links below will work for you! Also, I want to mention that Delta Airlines&#39; June edition of Sky Magazine features a great spread touting Pittsburgh&#39;s comeback story. Throughout the month of June, the magazine is expected to reach a whopping <em>five million</em> passengers worldwide. Check out a sneak peak <a href="">here</a>.</p> <p style="text-align: justify; ">&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; It&rsquo;s been a remarkable May for Pittsburgh as our City&rsquo;s Third Renaissance gains more momentum.&nbsp; PNC announced that they will move almost 1,000 employees to the long-vacant Lord &amp; Taylor building. The significance of this investment should not be understated. This building sat empty for years, representing the failed attempts to revitalize the Fifth and Forbes corridor. Now, our work to transform Market Square and partner with key stakeholders like PNC, Millcraft Industries and others is working.&nbsp; Oxford Development, a key player in Pittsburgh&rsquo;s second Renaissance, joined in on the action, announcing multi-million-dollar development plans that will complement PNC&rsquo;s investment and other efforts to keep downtown&rsquo;s economic momentum moving forward.</p> <p style="text-align: justify; ">Through collaboration, we&rsquo;re&nbsp; implementing strategies to expand downtown&rsquo;s transformation even further, and we&rsquo;re not resting on the successes of Market Square or the <a href="">$5 billion</a> in downtown development over the past five years. For example, my office is leading an aggressive market-based plan to make the Smithfield Street area a humming shopping destination. We&rsquo;ve <a href="">secured funding</a> to revitalize several historic buildings in this corridor, and PNC&rsquo;s and Oxford&rsquo;s recent announcements will certainly help spur these efforts.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: justify; ">In addition, our work to revitalize 55 acres of riverfront property in the Strip District is well underway. In 2009, I launched a robust <a href="">master plan</a> that strategized the best way to tap into the economic development potential of the neighborhoods that border the Allegheny Riverfront. A key recommendation of this plan called to redevelop the sea of parking lots that separates downtown from the Strip District neighborhood. Soon, Buncher Corporation and the URA will transform this area with a $450 million mixed-use development. This opportunity will create 3,000 permanent jobs and hundreds of new residences - nearly doubling the neighborhood&rsquo;s population. With this project and the development of the 28-acre Civic Arena site, our City&rsquo;s Golden Triangle will continue to expand.</p> <p style="text-align: justify; ">While this is all such great news, I truly believe that Pittsburgh&rsquo;s Third Renaissance is not just about brick and mortar development.&nbsp; This Renaissance is about the amazing people in Pittsburgh&rsquo;s 90 neighborhoods who push themselves and others to revitalize their yard, their block or their street. It&rsquo;s about the young people who are advancing themselves, changing their course for the better, so that they can give back to their communities. It&rsquo;s about serving others and believing in Pittsburgh&rsquo;s amazing potential.</p> <p style="text-align: justify; ">Tapping into Pittsburghers&rsquo; neighborly spirit, I launched a citizen-service initiative called <a href="">servePGH</a> last year. This initiative has been successful beyond belief.&nbsp; More than 1,200 neighborhood volunteers have put in almost 10,000 hours of community service. Residents are embracing the Pittsburgh tradition of neighbors-helping-neighbors, and are stepping up to do great things like transform City blocks, restore the homes of vulnerable residents or mentor a child.</p> <p style="text-align: justify; ">Our young people are giving back, too. The other day, I joined Brashear High School seniors for the first <a href=";a=Pittsburgh_Promise_Day_of_Service">Promise Day of Service</a>. Hundreds of Promise-ready high school seniors joined the first four-year Promise scholar graduates and participated in dozens of community service projects.&nbsp; As the first four-year Promise Scholars graduate this year, we celebrate their achievement, and they celebrate too by volunteering their time to mentor and serve their community.&nbsp; The community will be commemorating this program&rsquo;s success with four big events this month.&nbsp; From a gala with Sasha Heinz to a Promise Dance-A-Thon, we will increase the awareness of this great program and gain more Promise stakeholders. You can get involved by <a href="">clicking here</a>.</p> <p style="text-align: justify; ">The Pittsburgh Promise is changing lives and transforming our community. Elementary school students learn that they must start preparing for college right now. High school freshman&nbsp; take their studies more seriously because they know what grades and attendance they must maintain to become Promise eligible. There are so many stories of kids who simply never would have thought about going to college, were it not for this program. Like, <a href="">Jahmiah from the North Side</a> who made straight A&rsquo;s his senior year to become Promise eligible. Jahmiah is the first in his family to attend college, and he will soon become an engineer. The Pittsburgh Promise ig&shy;nited something in Jahmiah that made him reach for a future that was full of hope and possibility.</p> <p style="text-align: justify; ">As we kick off a great summer with the <a href="">Arts Festival</a>, remember that you, too, can be a part of Pittsburgh&rsquo;s Third Renaissance. My administration has many tools that will engage you and your neighbors. Here are just five ways you can get involved:</p> <p style="text-align: justify; ">1. <strong>Participate in one of my seven <a href="">ServePGH</a> initiatives.</strong> For example, <a href="">Love Your Block</a> gives you and neighbors a $500 Home Depot gift card to help revitalize a vacant lot.<br /> 2. <strong>Invest in a child.</strong> <a href="">Click here</a> to sign on to mentor a child, or <a href="">click here</a> to give to the Pittsburgh Promise.<br /> 3.<strong> Help our City become &ldquo;greener.&rdquo;</strong> My Civic L.E.A.F. Academy kicks off this June and will teach young residents how to urban farm. Encourage a young person to <a href="">apply for the program</a> by June 11.<br /> 4. <strong>Dine at one of the dozens of new City restaurants.</strong> Here&rsquo;s a list of the new restaurants in and around <a href="">Market Square</a>.<br /> 5.&nbsp; <strong>Plan a stay-cation in Pittsburgh.</strong> Support our wonderful arts and cultural assets, like the Carnegie Museum and Science Center. Take your kids to one of our new <a href="">spray parks</a>, and enjoy free <a href="">cinema</a> and <a href="">jazz</a> in our Citiparks!<br /> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<br /> Here&rsquo;s to a great summer, full of hope and promise.</p> <table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100%"> <tbody> <tr> <td>&nbsp;</td> <td width="150"> <p style="font: 13px/18px Arial,sans-serif; color: rgb(85,85,85)">Sincerely,<br /> <img src="" /><br /> Luke Ravenstahl<br /> Mayor, City of Pittsburgh</p> </td> <td>&nbsp;</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p>&nbsp;</p> Tue, 12 Jun 2012 13:55:32 -0400 Happy New Year, From Mayor Luke <p>Friends,</p> <p style="text-align: justify">From safer streets to Third Renaissance excitement, it&rsquo;s been a fantastic year for Pittsburgh.&nbsp; Let&rsquo;s take a look back at 2011&rsquo;s top accomplishments. With positive momentum, leadership and residents engaged in helping our City&rsquo;s resurgence reach more neighborhoods, we will see a more prosperous 2012.</p> <p style="text-align: justify">My staff and I put together this top ten list. I hope you enjoy reflecting on the year&rsquo;s accomplishments and I wish you a joyous New Year.</p> <div> <div> <table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100%"> <tbody> <tr> <td> &nbsp;</td> <td width="150"> <p style="font: 13px/18px Arial,sans-serif; color: rgb(85,85,85)">Sincerely,<br /> <img src="" /><br /> Luke Ravenstahl<br /> Mayor, City of Pittsburgh</p> </td> <td> &nbsp;</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> </div> </div> <p><strong>Top 10 list</strong><br /> &nbsp;10.&nbsp; Pittsburgh is on the &ldquo;New Frontier.&rdquo;<br /> &nbsp;&nbsp; 9.&nbsp; Hollywood falls in love with Pittsburgh.<br /> &nbsp;&nbsp; 8.&nbsp; Hello, &ldquo;brain gain&rdquo;!<br /> &nbsp;&nbsp; 7.&nbsp; Safer streets &ndash; again.<br /> &nbsp;&nbsp; 6.&nbsp;&nbsp;Golden Triangle&nbsp;to expand.<br /> &nbsp;&nbsp; 5. &nbsp;Two words: Market. Square.<br /> &nbsp;&nbsp; 4.&nbsp; The Pittsburgh Promise celebrates first graduates.<br /> &nbsp;&nbsp; 3.&nbsp; National Geographic puts Pittsburgh on travelers&rsquo; &ldquo;bucket list.&rdquo;<br /> &nbsp;&nbsp; 2. &nbsp;My 2012 budget passes unanimously.<br /> &nbsp;&nbsp; 1. &nbsp;Pittsburgh celebrates its Third Renaissance.</p> <p style="text-align: justify"><br /> <strong>10. Pittsburgh is on the &ldquo;New Frontier.&rdquo;</strong>&nbsp; I was extremely proud to represent Pittsburgh when Caroline Kennedy chose me as one of two recipients of the distinguished John F. Kennedy <a href="">New Frontier Award</a>.&nbsp; Our work to put Pittsburgh back on the map has not gone unnoticed. From a safe and successful G-20, to The Pittsburgh Promise, to our <a href="">servePGH initiative</a> - we all should be very proud of what we&rsquo;re accomplishing together. For me, &ldquo;selling&rdquo; Pittsburgh is one of the best things I can do for our City. Whether it&rsquo;s on a business-recruiting trip to China or speaking in front of Caroline Kennedy, Harvard alumni and world leaders &ndash; telling Pittsburgh&rsquo;s transformation story benefits our City&#39;s future economy.</p> <p style="text-align: justify"><strong>9. Hollywood falls in love with Pittsburgh. </strong>Russell Crowe. Taylor Lautner. Anne Hathaway. &nbsp;What do they all have in common?&nbsp;They were welcomed as Pittsburgh residents, at least for a short time, while filming in our City this year. Pittsburgh has been labeled the &ldquo;Hollywood of the East,&rdquo; adding thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in economic development as a result. Nothing exemplifies that more than when we were chosen as the filming location for the much-anticipated &ldquo;<a href="" target="_blank">Dark Knight Rises</a>.&rdquo; For a few weeks, Pittsburgh was transformed into the Gotham City, and this coming summer we&rsquo;ll get to see our hometown shine on the big screen. This year&rsquo;s Light Up Night was visited by Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes and daughter Suri - who knows what big names will be found visiting our City next year!</p> <p style="text-align: justify"><strong>8. Hello, &ldquo;brain gain&rdquo;!</strong>&nbsp; For the first time in a long time, U.S. Census data shows more 24-29 year olds living in Pittsburgh and that our City&#39;s median age is declining. Yes, our City is getting younger. With a new Pittsburgh economy, a lower than average unemployment rate, an affordable lifestyle and The Promise, young people are finally flocking to - not from - Pittsburgh.&nbsp; Leading demographists such as William Frey from the <a href="">Brookings Institution</a> explain that Pittsburgh&rsquo;s stable economy is attracting more and more &ldquo;migrants.&rdquo;</p> <p style="text-align: justify"><strong>7. Safer streets &ndash; again.</strong>&nbsp;&nbsp;We are one of America&#39;s safest cities and we are getting safer. According to statistics released by the FBI, Pittsburgh&rsquo;s crime rate has dropped for four years in a row. While crime rates are trending low nationally, Pittsburgh&rsquo;s crime rate continues to drop at a <a href="">much higher rate</a>.&nbsp; We believe safer streets are a result of a strong Pittsburgh economy, the hard work of police officers and our work with residents to bring blight-reduction programs to neighborhoods.&nbsp; Nearly <a href="">200 vacant lots</a> have been transformed into community green spaces &ndash; with residents as their stewards.&nbsp; My&nbsp;<a href="">Nuisance Property Task Force</a>&nbsp;has told absentee landlords to either take care of their investment or hit the bricks. And the&nbsp;<a href="">Pittsburgh Initiative to Reduce Crime</a>&nbsp;is working to reduce our homicide rate.</p> <p style="text-align: justify"><strong>6. Golden Triangle to expand.</strong>&nbsp;&nbsp; Yes, the Civic Arena is coming down. We are working collaboratively with neighborhood and civic leaders to transform <a href="">28 acres</a> in the&nbsp;Hill District and Uptown neighborhoods. What was once an&nbsp;unused arena and parking lots will soon be exciting destination retail and restaurant establishments, and yes &ndash; new jobs and addresses.<br /> <br /> <strong>5. Two words: Market. Square.</strong>&nbsp; Who would have thought this public-private $5 million investment would push downtown into its Third Renaissance? We did. By renovating downtown&rsquo;s historic center, our investment has paid off. In and around the Square this year, a whopping 17 new restaurants opened shop.&nbsp; Up the street, PNC will soon break ground on the world&rsquo;s greenest skyscraper. And last week, one of downtown&rsquo;s largest investors announced plans for its third project downtown called&nbsp;&ldquo;<a href="">The Gardens at Market Square</a>.&rdquo;&nbsp; Great developments are happening in the Fifth-Forbes corridor and Point Park University&rsquo;s Academic Village Initiative is helping to redevelop the Boulevard. Other investments like the Downtown Preservation Project and <a href="">Project Pop Up</a> will create more vibrancy in more corners of downtown.</p> <p style="text-align: justify"><strong>4. The Pittsburgh Promise celebrates first graduates.</strong>&nbsp;I have been eagerly waiting for this day since I co-founded <a href="">The&nbsp;Pittsburgh Promise</a>&nbsp;scholarship program in 2007 - the day that we can congratulate the first graduating Promise scholars. To date, four public school grads completed their four-year college programs early. That&rsquo;s four inspirational young people that have pursued their dreams&nbsp; thanks to The Promise. About 3,000 young students are currently pursuing higher education &ndash; many of whom never had the confidence to reach for the stars before this unique opportunity. I look forward to welcoming each and every one of them into Pittsburgh&rsquo;s growing new economy. If you&#39;re interested in donating to this worthy cause, please visit the <a href="">Promise website</a>.</p> <p style="text-align: justify"><strong>3. National Geographic puts Pittsburgh on travelers&rsquo; &ldquo;bucket list.&rdquo;</strong>&nbsp;We&rsquo;re thrilled with the national and international praise that Pittsburgh continues to receive. One of the highlights this year was when&nbsp;<a href="">National Geographic Traveler</a>&nbsp;named our City as one of 20 best places in the world to visit in 2012 &ndash; one of only two U.S. cities mentioned. We all already know how great our City is, but it&rsquo;s nice to see that everyone else is catching on.</p> <p style="text-align: justify"><strong>2.&nbsp;&nbsp;City&#39;s 2012 Budget passes unanimously.</strong> It&rsquo;s a shame what is happening in our nation&rsquo;s capital. Instead of putting political differences aside and working on compromises for the good of the nation, many politicians are creating gridlock instead of solutions.&nbsp; That&rsquo;s not happening here in Pittsburgh.&nbsp; In September, the state ruled that Pittsburgh&rsquo;s pension can remain in local control. With that news, we are even closer to completing our financial recovery. I am very pleased that City Council unanimously passed my <a href="">2012 capital budget and five year plan</a><a href=""><span style="display: none">&nbsp;</span></a><a href="">&nbsp;</a>.&nbsp;For four years in a row, our budgets have been balanced without any new tax increases or cuts in service.&nbsp;<span style="display: none">&nbsp;</span><span id="cke_bm_71E" style="display: none">&nbsp;</span>I look forward to working with Council Members in the New Year and I welcome incoming City Councilman Corey O&rsquo;Connor.<br /> <br /> <strong>1. Pittsburgh celebrates our Third Renaissance</strong>. Across the nation, cities are struggling to stay afloat. In Pittsburgh, we are creating new addresses. From Market Square, to more skyscraper development, to East Liberty&rsquo;s renewal, to plans for new jobs and construction in the Hill District and along the Allegheny riverfront &ndash; billions of dollars are being invested right here in Pittsburgh. And our City&rsquo;s resurgence is impacting all neighborhoods with our efforts to engage thousands of residents in Pittsburgh&rsquo;s Third Renaissance. Our&nbsp; citizen-service plan&nbsp;called&nbsp;<a href="">servePGH</a>&nbsp;launched last&nbsp;March. Since then, an impressive 1,000+ residents have transformed vacant lots into community green spaces, adopted litter zones, mentored young people and have taken part in other neighborhood improvement programs.</p> <p style="text-align: justify"><strong>WHAT TO EXPECT IN 2012</strong><br /> As we approach the New Year, I will focus on making sure that our seniors and families are not taxed out of their homes. Allegheny County&#39;s property reassessment is not something that I agree with, but we have no say in the matter. I will continue to work hard educating residents on how to <a href="">appeal any unfair or inaccurate assessment</a>. In addition, I will be asking City Council to cut the tax millage rate and to put more money into homeowners&#39; pockets by increasing the Homestead Tax Exemption.<br /> <br /> As it has for the last four years, our City will get safer. Our officers and public safety personnel will continue their dedication and sacrafice with some of the nation&#39;s best training and safety equipment. Pittsburgh&#39;s Third Renaissance will reach more neighborhoods, creating more jobs in places like Uptown, the Central Northside and along the Allegheny Riverfront. And with engaged residents helping to take care of our City&#39;s young people and neighborhoods, 2012 will be another banner year for Pittsburgh.</p> Thu, 29 Dec 2011 13:07:04 -0500