Rich Fitzgerald speaking at the meeting. Photo by Bill O'Toole.

What does the future hold for Downtown Pittsburgh?

The Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership (PDP) hosted its annual meeting on Wednesday at Point Park University’s Pittsburgh Playhouse on Forbes Avenue. The gathering was a chance for the PDP to exalt in a few of their accomplishments from the past year and lay out their agenda for 2019.

“Congratulations to the whole board for the great work you’ve been doing for many, many years,” said County Executive Rich Fitzgerald at the start of the meeting.

“Downtown Pittsburgh, the core of the region, just continues to get better every single year,” Fitzgerald said. “Nothing like this happens without the partnership that exists between the public sector and the private sector, our nonprofits, our universities, our labor community, all the folks that pitch in.”

Now in its 25th year, the community development organization has been busy in the last 12 months. Notable projects from 2018 include opening the locally sourced craft shop PG&H, spending $145,000 on façade improvements for local businesses and installing three new public art installations across the neighborhood.

You’ll find the full 2018 report here. And here are some of the projects in the 2019 pipeline:

Downtown wants your business: In order to fill vacant storefronts and jumpstart the local economy, the PDP unveiled a new marketing campaign–“Everything Points You Here”– aimed at luring creative businesses, tech companies and startups of all stripes to Downtown Pittsburgh. The campaign, designed by the advertising firm Gatesman Agency, will work actively with the local media and real estate communities, providing a toolkit of fact, figures and other relevant information for potential renters and buyers of office space.

Transit may improve: The PDP has already started establishing stakeholder committees to discuss the changes that community members would like to see in the Downtown transit ecosystem. The work of the committees will provide context and data for the organization’s comprehensive Downtown mobility plan.

More art is coming to Downtown: Local artists Alisha B. Wormsley and Ricardo Iamuuri Robinson won the commission for the Market Square Public Art Program. Their work will be titled “Streaming Space” and will feature “a 24-foot-tall truss pyramid with mounted LED screens that project meditative video montages of nature and space, and show vintage jazz concerts and films, as well as highlighting the work of local futurist art.” The installation will begin broadcasting in April.

In addition, the PDP presented its Golden Triangle Awards honoring groups or individuals “that go above and beyond to help the PDP meet its mission.”

This year’s honorees are Fred Rogers Productions for their work on Holiday Kidsplay, and Ashlee Yingling Wallace, a PDP board member and marketing and communications team lead at Duquesne Light Company, who played a key role in several public art and engagement projects.

Bill O'Toole

Bill O'Toole was a full-time reporter for NEXTpittsburgh until October, 2019. He previously reported in Myanmar.