Message from Councilman Dowd

PARKING & PENSIONS: After the August break, the City faces a critical decision on the future of our public garages. The State Legislature has required the City to increase its pension fund assets by $210 million to meet at least 50% of its obligations. The Mayor has presented his plan to privatize the garages as the last best idea to meet this obligation. He argues that failure to enact his plan will lead to state takeover of the pension and ultimately, a tax increase to meet the obligation.

The Mayor’s proposal settles for a one-time infusion of cash while relinquishing community control over significant public assets for generations. While my fellow City Council members have floated numerous alternative proposals, City Controller Michael Lamb and I have drafted a separate plan for consideration.

The Mayor has distributed a draft request for proposals for the community and council to review. Council will be looking for feedback to the Mayor’s and council members’ proposals at a series of public meetings in September. But I encourage you to attend the next Morningside Council-to-Go on Thursday, August 26 from 6:30pm to 8pm at Morning Glory, 1806 Chislett Street. We want to hear your thoughts on these various proposals.

GREENWAY: At a community meeting hosted by our office on July 1, Morningside and Stanton Heights residents met with City representatives to discuss the benefits and responsibilities of a greenway. The greenway was first proposed by Morningside residents and would include an overlook at the intersection of Morningside Avenue and Baker Street and a wooded greenway down to the Allegheny River. City employees presented how a greenway provides passive recreation opportunities, improves water management and erosion control, enhances aesthetics, and raises property values.

My office highlighted how the City and numerous nonprofit agencies contribute to the long-term maintenance of greenways. Communities that have entered into greenway agreements have access to public and nonprofit resources for the clean-up of significant debris and the prevention of illegal dumping.

Both the MACC and the Stanton Heights Neighborhood Association have voted to move forward with the development of a greenway. My office will now submit letters to that effect to City Planning, and then I’ll introduce legislation to City Council informing them of this project. The legislation then goes to City Planning and the Planning Commission. To learn more about or get involved with this green project, please phone 412.255.2140 or email us at district7@city.pittsburgh.pa.us.

Sincerely,
City Councilman Patrick Dowd

Small Business Development Center

John Dobransky of the University of Pittsburgh Small Business Development Center will be at the next MACC meeting on July 7th to discuss their neighborhood outreach program. Representative Costa invited John and the SBDC to Morningside to provide local businesses with assistance and provide consultation to residents looking to start their own enterprise.

John will be based in Rep. Costa from 8:30am to 4:00pm on the days listed below:

7/15

8/12

9/9

10/14

11/11

12/9

Everyone is encouraged to make appointments by calling 412 624 2290 or call Rep Costa’s office.

Preserve Pittsburgh Public Meetings

The City of Pittsburgh is embarking on its first Comprehensive Plan, creating a shared vision and policies for the next 25 years of our City’s development. Plan components currently in progress include Open Space Parks and Recreation, Transportation, Public Art and Urban Design. Next to launch is PRESERVEPGH, the Cultural Heritage Plan with a series of public meetings.  PRESERVEPGH will provide the City with a working document that holistically identifies historic and cultural assets; considers the issues, problems and opportunities associated with those resources; and develops goals, policies, and strategies for their appropriate use, conservation, preservation and protection.

Please join us at one of these introductory PRESERVEPGH meetings:

Monday,April 12 6-8pm
Estelle S. Campbell Boys and Girls Club
4600 Butler Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15201

Thursday,April 15 6-8 pm
James Center
327 South Main Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15220

Monday,April 19 6-8pm
New Hazlett Theatre
6 Allegheny Square E
Pittsburgh, PA 15212

meetings are free and open to the public

To learn more about PRESERVEPGH and other components of the City’s Comprehensive Plan,
visit www.planpgh.com . or call 412.393.0160

Community Meeting on Communications

Your opinion counts! Join MACC for its next Community Meeting to shape the 2010 Communications Plan!  If you live or do business in the neighborhood you are invited, whether or not you are a MACC member. This will be a facilitated discussion to prioritize the input collected from the neighborhood in this process and come to consensus on what the MACC 2010 communications priorities should be based on YOUR input. WEDNESDAY, APRIL 14, 2010 6-8 p.m. at the VFW at 1820 Morningside Avenue. Light refreshments provided by MACC. Door prizes, too!  Tickets to the Kelly Strayhorn Theater and MORE!!

Background. . .

Exciting developments are underway in Morningside – popular seasonal activities, new businesses, new residents, the development of the Morningside Elementary School and so much more! MACC wants to more effectively communicate – to each other as well as to the broader Pittsburgh community — about Morningside and its many assets.

MACC encourages the involvement and input of all! The communications strategy will be built by you and for you through a series of interactive methods with multiple opportunities for the community to come together, provide insights and ideas about communications. We will work toward consensus on how we communicate about Morningside

The process started in March. Twenty-six Morningside neighbors – from 10 different streets in Morningside — participated in community meetings held on March 20 and 24 at the VFW. In addition, several others were interviewed by phone.  See the report on those meetings.

The Summary Report from the March meetings is posted on the MACC Web site and is also attached for your review. It captures key points concerning MACC communications expressed by residents at the meetings.

Questions??

For MACC: Contact Grant Ervin, MACC president, at grant_ervin@gmail.com . To offer feedback on this report, contact Diane Wuycheck at wuycheck@wuycheck.com or 412-471-4495.

Morningside: East End Gem

Following a five month comprehensive study that included hundreds of resident and customer surveys, one-on-one interviews, a neighborhood business inventory and needs assessment of the community’s businesses, Jackson/Clark has finished a market analysis of the Morningside Business district. Their findings uncovered a series of strengths, weaknesses and opportunities for the neighborhood to build upon.

Following a five month comprehensive study that included hundreds of resident and customer surveys, one-on-one interviews, a neighborhood business inventory and needs assessment of the community’s businesses, Jackson/Clark has finished a market analysis of the Morningside Business district. Their findings uncovered a series of strengths, weaknesses and opportunities for the neighborhood to build upon.

One key aspect uncovered is that the Morningside Business District has more of a customer base that meets the eye. The research shows that Morningside serves communities well beyond its boundaries. While a healthy majority of the shoppers in the community’s business district originate from Morningside, almost forty percent of shoppers come from nearby East End neighborhoods like Lawrenceville, Stanton Heights and Highland Park, but also municipalities that include O’Hara, Fox Chapel and Blawnox.  Market analysts explained that the expanded market area demonstrates an ability of the district to service neighborhood residents, while attracting customers beyond the base provided by Morningside alone.

The surveys conducted as part of the market analysis uncovered a series of community assets. Morningside’s assets include: proximity to cultural amenities, short distances to jobs in Oakland and Downtown and a variety of transportation choices.  Other benefits cited include a quality housing stock, residents who care and community pride.

A few of the challenges identified through the surveys include a confusing and difficult to navigate street network, poor signage, changes in shopping habits over the years, limited shopping choices in the district and a tired streetscape.

  • Opportunities for the community and the business district include:
  • Building on quality housing opportunities for first time home buyers
  • Leveraging visitors to the neighborhood through assets such as the Zoo, Churches, and Youth Sporting Events
  • Tapping the needs of both new and older residents and adjacent neighborhoods
  • Build on heritage and tradition of the community

The information generated by the market study is being incorporated by Moshier Studios and Pashek Associates in design recommendations for the business district. More information on the design portion of the project will be forthcoming.

Welcome to Morningside!

Morningside is one of Pittsburgh’s best kept secrets. Close-knit and friendly, neighbors live in two-story brick homes with old fashioned porches that encourage long talks and quick chats with friends and neighbors. Children ride their bicycles in the gentle shade of the trees that line the sidewalk, and joggers have two-square miles of neighborhood to explore. The Morningside Area Community Council meets the first Wednesday of each month at 7:00 PM at the Morningside VFW Hall at 1820 Morningside Avenue.

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