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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
City Councilman Patrick Dowd