Mt. Washington sign

Bayer sign no longer the Bayer sign
From the “who could possibly have seen this coming?” file, the Bayer Corporation announced yesterday that it is withdrawing its name, logo and sponsorship from the large piece of neon signage on Mt. Washington.

Bayer has leased the sign from Lamar Advertising for the last 21 years, but attempts to update its infrastructure and the energy efficiency of its lighting have proved prohibitively expensive and unsuccessful. Falling further into disrepair, the sign has become one of Pittsburgh’s most prominent eyesores, as Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto acknowledged in a statement Thursday.

“I can see why Bayer doesn’t want to be identified with the Mt. Washington Sign,” Peduto said. “It’s an eyesore for the Mt. Washington neighborhood and the whole city.”

Scenic Pittsburgh is conducting an Internet survey, asking for local input on what the next steps should be for the more than 90-year-old sign. In addition to three popular options—removing the sign and adding the existing land to Mt. Washington’s Emerald View Park, renovating the sign to read “Pittsburgh” in the oeuvre of California’s iconic “Hollywood” sign or allowing owner Lamar Advertising to refurbish the sign and continue to lease it for advertising—Scenic Pittsburgh is also seeking new comments and ideas.

Federal officials attending the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden opening
U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell was in Pittsburgh yesterday, headlining a panel of distinguished guests on hand to officially open the first public section of the Pittsburgh Botanic Gardens, a 60-acre section of what will eventually be a 460-acre space.

Jewell’s activities in town included breakfast with Mayor Bill Peduto, a tour of the garden and a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Joining Jewell to help open the garden was Pittsburgh Botanic Garden President Greg Nace, U.S. Representative Tim Murphy, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and Joe Pizarchick, the director of the Office of Surface Mining and Enforcement. As we reported earlier, much of the new botanic garden’s area covers sites of former deep coal mines from the 1920s and strip mines from the 1940s. When the remnants of Hurricane Ivan washed through the region a decade ago, these mines flooded, spilling dangerous chemicals into the park’s ponds and streams.

In order to continue rehabbing the land, garden organizers had to extract the remaining coal from the mines and sell it to pay for the costs involved with collapsing the old tunnels and cleaning the park’s water.

The Pittsburgh Botanic Garden is the only such garden built on top of old mines and when complete, will be the fifth-largest botanic garden in the country.

Market Kitchen Kickstarter success!
As we reported Tuesday, The Market Kitchen, a commercial kitchen space planned for one of the old loading bays in the Pittsburgh Public Market, was 48 hours and about $3,000 away from facing a huge gap in its funding. We’re now pleased to follow up with the information that the Market Kitchen’s Kickstarter raised more than $1,000 over its goal in the last two days the campaign was open.

“We’re pleased with the success of the campaign because it helps make the market more of a food hub, incubator and entrepreneurial place,” says Neighbors in the Strip’s Beck Rodgers. “We look forward to helping people build and expand their food-related businesses.”

Matthew Wein is a local writer, editor, blogger, storyteller and proud native Pittsburgher. Once described as "a man of things," he covers city design, spirits and craft beer for NEXT, where he keeps all of the editorial meetings light-hearted and interesting. His interests include sorting books, looking at old things and candles which smell like old-growth pine forests.