City of Pittsburgh Council District 4
District 4 Newsletter | December 2012
Happy Holidays & District 4 Updates!
 
In This Issue...
 
District 4 News
 
Billboard Legislation Passed! 
Blight Fighting Code Red Legislation Passed!
Update on Council District Reapportionment
Updates on Exciting Projects in the District
 
Brookline Blvd Reconstruction
Beechview Senior Center
Brownsville Road Dairy District
Hillcrest Senior Residences
Overbrook School Redevelopment
Park & Ride on Rt. 51
Good News You Won't See On The News
Help, Work, Donate, Volunteer
 
 
Concord Elementary School Library Needs New Books!
Free Legal Services for Seniors
Veterans: do you need exterior house repair or maintenance?
A reminder about the City's spay and neuter program
Block watches work!
Looking for a job?
Finishing Trades Institute of Western Pennsylvania offers joint apprenticeship program

Employment opportunities with the City of Pittsburgh

Western Pennsylvania Humane Society seeks donations

St. John Vianney Food Bank needs donations
Overbrook Community Council Needs Volunteers
Meals on Wheels needs drivers and kitchen help
Lend a hand to the library--become a friend of the Beechview library

Join the Carrick-Overbrook Historical Society!

Events
 
 
 
 
District 4 News
 
Billboard Legislation Passed! 
 
In previous editions of the newsletter, we’ve told you about an important Billboard Tax that I co-sponsored with Councilwoman Darlene Harris. The legislation will close a corporate tax loophole, and will make billboard companies pay their fair share for billboards located within the City. Billboard companies are making millions by posting advertisements along our busiest roads, and yet they pay very little in combined city, county and school district property taxes. Some pay as little as $11 per year! In contrast, most homeowners pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars. The City has been mandated by the state to find new sources of revenue to strengthen our budget and pension. Closing this corporate tax loophole holds the line on residents’ property taxes, while raising $2-4 million in additional revenue to restore and improve city services.
 
Council unanimously agreed and passed the bill on Tuesday, November 27th. The new law will take effect beginning in 2013. 
 
Blight Fighting Code Red Legislation Passed!
 
On Tuesday, December 11, Council passed another important piece of legislation that I proposed, this time with Councilman Bill Peduto. This bill is designed to fight blight by shaming slum landlords who refuse to respond to notices, citations and legal action by the Bureau of Building Inspection. The legislation directs the Chief of the Bureau to post signs in front of the ten worst properties across the city-- properties that have been continually cited, without any action taken by the owner to correct the problems. If the owner lives in the City, the sign may also be posted in front of his or her primary residence. The signs will list the name of the property owner, their publicly available address and phone number. Sunshine is the best disinfectant, and we know that similar programs have successfully pressured property owners to correct issues in other cities, cross the country, including Boston, Milwaukee, and Allentown, PA. The legislation also provides residents the opportunity to petition the Bureau of Building inspection to consider a specific property in their neighborhood. 
 
This legislation is not the silver bullet that will clean up all blight, but it is another tool in the toolbox for keeping our neighborhoods clean! You can read the full text of the legislation here.
 
Update on Council District Reapportionment
 
Over time,  neighborhood populations change-- some neighborhoods lose people, while others grow! Because of this, the federal Voting Rights Act requires the City to redraw our City Council District lines to ensure that each district is approximately equal in population. Equal populations ensure the equality of the individual’s vote-- a comparatively large district would make one person’s vote count for less (a smaller proportion of the total population),  and a very small district would make a person’s vote count more. 
 
To make these adjustments, Council appointed a 9 member Reapportionment Advisory Committee which worked for a year to evaluate changes in population and propose adjustments to the map. The Reapportionment Committee was obliged to meet two legal requirements of reapportionment-- council districts must be contiguous and compact. The Committee also set out to keep neighborhoods together where possible-- in other words, to not split a neighborhood between two Council districts. Over the summer, the Committee unanimously voted to approve a set of recommendations and a map. You can view their recommendations here. 
 
Council reviewed their recommendations and made some changes to the plan. In Beechview, we heard concerns from residents in voting districts that were recommended to move to District 2, currently represented by Theresa Kail-Smith. Residents expressed their wishes to stay in District 4, in the same council district as Beechview’s Broadway Avenue business district. Our office worked with other Councilmembers on an amendment to keep those Beechview precincts in District 4. 
 
The new District 4 map will also unite Carrick! Carrick precincts North of The Boulevard, previously represented by District 3 (Bruce Kraus) will now be in District 4. A final map was approved by Council on Tuesday December 11. 
 
Updates on Exciting Projects in the District
 
•Brookline Blvd Reconstruction-- After a dozen years or more of waiting, the time has finally come for the Brookline Boulevard Reconstruction Project! On November 26th, the Department of Public Works issued a bid advertisement, calling for construction bids for the project. Construction costs are expected to total approximately $6,600,000. Contractors are slated to break ground this coming spring. For more information on design elements and timing of the project, take a look at this presentation on our website. 
 
•Beechview Senior Center-- We did it again-- we moved forward on another project that’s been stuck for over a decade! City and State officials have been working with neighborhood advocates for a *very* long time to find or build a better space for the Beechview Senior Center, which has been housed in a basement for generations. State Representatives Michael Diven and Chelsa Wagner appropriated a combined $1.5 million in state funds toward the project, but previous attempts to acquire a space and gather the necessary matching funds have failed. Our office has worked for the past three years to appropriate additional funds and secure commitments from the Mayor to move forward before the state funds expire in 2014. Council has now unanimously approved legislation to authorize the City to purchase 1553 Broadway Avenue (the current site of the Senior Center). This is the first major step in a complete top-to-bottom renovation, which will reclaim two storefronts and a number of upper floor apartments to create three floors of dedicated senior space, as well as flexible community space. There will be a lounge and dining areas, a kitchen, meeting rooms and fitness space that will accommodate a wide range of programming for seniors today and into the future. In addition to interior renovations, this project will restore the historic facade of the building, making it a feature on our growing Broadway Avenue business district. Brew on Broadway is expected to remain in the building. Community meetings will be held in the new year to get input on the final architectural design-- check back to our online calendar for details: http://pittsburghpa.gov/district4/calendar
 
•Brownsville Road Dairy District-- Colteryahn Dairy on Brownsville Road is the only operational dairy in the City of Pittsburgh! Thousands of commuters and Carrick residents pass by this impressive facility on a daily basis, with little notice. Last year, I met with Carl Colteryahn, Economic Development South and the office of County Executive Rich Fitzgerald to tour the dairy and talk more about how we can highlight this wonderful community asset. We came up with the idea of creating a “Dairy District” that could include a Colteryahn store, revitalization of storefronts, new restaurants, and a redesign of public spaces. To make this a reality, the Carrick Community Council and I worked to allocate $25,000 for an architectural design study of the area. Economic Development South was also awarded a $50,000 Neighborhood Renaissance Fund grant from the Design Center for this purpose. 
 
•Hillcrest Senior Residences-- If you live in Carrick or travel Brownsville Road, you know that the vacant Giant Eagle next to the Burger King has detracted from the Brownsville Road business district for many years. We’ve worked with a group called the Community Builders for the last few years on the concept of building a new apartment building on that site exclusively for seniors. A market study of the area showed there is a great need for this type of housing in Carrick. People want to remain independent, but can no longer care for or afford a family home. Providing an option in Carrick means that our seniors can downsize without giving up their other familiar daily routines and proximity to friends and family. Last month, the Community Builders officially purchased the property from Giant Eagle! They are now waiting to hear the results of an application for federal tax credits to subsidize the construction of the new building and parking area. We should hear back from them in the Spring with an update on the timeline of this project! 
 
•Overbrook School Redevelopment-- The need for local senior residences is just as great in Overbrook. In the last year, a plan has come together to renovate the old Overbrook School building and build an additional apartment building on the site to create a comprehensive senior living campus with assisted and independent living, as well as care and therapy services. Valcott Industries, a local group owned by a Carrick resident, will manage the property and the services. However, they do not have expertise in development and construction, so we introduced them to the NRP group, a nationally respected development company that will execute the renovations and new construction. This will be NRP’s first development in Pittsburgh. We expect the development to also include parking and access to the T station, to ensure that seniors are able to maintain their independence for as long as possible. One of the tremendous benefits of a campus like this is that people can live independently for as long as possible, and if needed, transition to assisted living without leaving friends or a familiar environment. This project is also in the running for federal tax credit assistance, and we should know more about the timeline in the spring. 
 
•Park & Ride on Rt. 51-- As the City’s representative of Overbrook, I participate in the Rt. 51 Corridor Committee, a group of elected officials and administrators from municipalities along Rt. 51 from the Liberty Tunnel to the Elizabeth Bridge. The goal of the committee is to work strategically together to advocate for marketing and capital improvement projects that benefit all of these communities. In 2011, I contributed to an American Institute of Architects study that identified improvements to the Rt. 51 roadway, the streetscape, flood prevention and more. One of the recommendations of this plan is to build a park and ride facility that connects commuters with both the busway and the trolley. It has been my goal to make this particular recommendation a reality. I allocated $40,000 in the 2012 capital budget for a design study to identify available space for park and ride facilities, as well as adjacent retail and residential development. Economic Development South and Gateway Engineers have been key to this development, facilitating conversations with potential developers and stakeholders. The study is nearly complete, and we expect to identify next steps and a timeline in the coming months.
 
Good News You Won’t See In the News
 
Council meetings are televised, but most of my work is done behind the scenes! When I’m not debating legislation with my fellow councilors, I’m meeting with organizations and individuals who can bring services or investment to our South Pittsburgh neighborhoods. Here is just a sampling of what I’ve been up to in the last month!
 
•Provided support to the South Pittsburgh Development Corporation on an application for a Design Center grant for a marketing plan to help get the word out about Brookline being a great place to live, shop and do business. The group was awarded $25,000!
 
•Provided support to Economic Development South for an application for a Design Center grant for an architectural design for the revitalization of the “Dairy District” section of Brownsville Road, surrounding the Colteryahn Dairy. Economic Development South was awarded $50,000. 
 
•Supported our veterans at the Veterans Day Parade and met with local leader Doug Brendel to discuss a new monument to remember fallen veterans in Brookline. 
 
•Met with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and Councilman Bruce Kraus to discuss next steps in the effort to build a new $4-7 million Carrick-Knoxville Library.
 
•Met with the mayor’s administration about conducting a master planning process for Brookline Memorial Park. 
 
•Attended community meetings of the Overbrook Community Council, Carrick Community Council, Carrick-Overbrook Block Watch, Beechview Area Concerned Citizens and Beechview Block Watch, South Pittsburgh Development Corporation, and Brookline Block Watch 
 
•Presented a proclamation of council to honor local heroes who saved the life of a Brookline Breeze runner who suffered a heart attack during the race. 
 
•Successfully advocated for the inclusion of funds in the 2013 Capital Budget for streetscape improvements on Broadway Avenue in Beechview, the paving of Brownsville Road in 2013, and park improvements at Bon Air Park, Brookline Memorial Park, Phillips Park, Leolyn Parklet (Carrick) and a new concession stand and restrooms at Alton Field in Beechview.
 
Help, Work, Donate, Volunteer
 
Concord Elementary School Library Needs New Books!
 
Melissa Dwyer, the librarian at Concord Elementary School, has put out a request for donations of new books for the library. As a graduate of Concord Elementary, I plan to donate at least one! Please pass this along to anyone you know who may be interested in giving. You can check out their Amazon wishlist online, here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/wishlist/3V1U06WETH5NT/ref=topnav_lists_1
 
Free Legal Services for Seniors
 
Need legal assistance? Free service is available for seniors at the Elder-Ado at 320 Brownsville Road, but appointments are necessary. Three dates are available: October 24, November 28, and December 27, all from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Call Janet Kirik at 412.381.6900 for more information.
 
Veterans: do you need exterior house repair or maintenance?
 
Habitat for Humanity of Greater Pittsburgh is seeking veterans and their families who could benefit from outdoor maintenance and exterior home repairs. If you need back yard debris removal, tree and bush trimming, yard landscaping, gutter and roof cleaning, lawn mowing, or paint touch ups and you own your home, have homeowner’s insurance, fit Habitat for Humanity’s income guideline, and are able to make a small monthly payment, which may be subsidized, you may apply! Contact Jeremy Martin at jmartin@pittsburghhabitat.org or at 412.351.0512 ext. 11 to get more information about Habitat for Humanity’s Veteran Housing Initiative, where they’re serving those who’ve served our country.
 
A reminder about the City's spay and neuter program
 
Thousands of cats and dogs come through our City’s animal shelters every year, and only a fraction are eventually adopted by families who can give them a home. The most effective way to work toward all animals having a forever home is to stop adult animals in the wild from giving birth to more youngsters. This is why the City released a spay and neuter program that provides this service for free for City residents. Read more about the program here and download the application here.
 
Block watches work!
 
If you are concerned about crime in your neighborhood, we encourage you to attend your neighborhood block watch meeting. There, you can learn how to organize your closest neighbors and meet people who may have dealt with similar issues elsewhere in the community. This is a chance to meet local officers, officials, and your own neighbors, and to speak up about problems you see and experience every day.
 
Beechview Area Concerned Citizens & Beechview Block Watch
Thursday, January 3, 7:00 p.m. & 8:00 p.m. at Beechview United Presbyterian Church (1621 Broadway Ave)
 
Carrick-Overbrook Block Watch
Monday, January 7, 2012, 7:00 p.m. at Concord Elementary (2350 Brownsville Rd)
 
Brookline Block Watch
Tuesday, January 8, 7:00 p.m. at Judge Jim Motznik's Office (736 Brookline Blvd)
(monthly on the second Tuesday)
 
The Pittsburgh Community Safety website is another fantastic resource for keeping tabs on your community. Sign up to receive public safety alerts in your police zone, and check out the virtual blotter. Need help? Check out the user guide (pdf) here.
 
Looking for a job?
 

If you are 17-21 years old, a high school graduate or G.E.D., and a resident of the City of Pittsburgh, the Three Rivers Workforce Investment Group and partners are offering assistance with temporary job placement, assistance getting a permanent job, resume assistance, career guidance, interview skills, bus passes, and volunteer opportunities. For more information, call 412.204.7164 and leave your name and phone number.
 
Finishing Trades Institute of Western Pennsylvania offers joint apprenticeship program

 
The FTI of Western Pennsylvania District Council #57 Joint Apprenticeship and Training Program will be accepting applications for apprenticeship in the Painters/Glaziers/Drywall Finishers program for the 2012 year. Applications are accepted year-round.

For more information, call 412.276.6061.
 
Employment opportunities with the City of Pittsburgh

 
The City of Pittsburgh invites all individuals seeking employment to apply online using their website at www.pghjobs.net. Click on the Online Employment Center button to view current job openings and register in the online employment system. If you don’t have access to a computer with Internet capabilities, visit the City’s Online Employment Center at 414 Grant Street, City-County Building, Fourth Floor, or call for Employment Application information at 412.255.2710.
 
Western Pennsylvania Humane Society seeks donations

 
A resident of South Pittsburgh who works at the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society on the North Side is requesting any dog food (canned and dry) that can be donated--they are in dire need. Please consider dropping off these donations at 1101 Western Avenue to help keep their dogs alive and healthy until they can find a forever home.
 
St. John Vianney Food Bank needs donations
 

If you’re interested in helping out the St. John Vianney food bank, or are interested in making donations or volunteering, please contact the St. John Vianney Ladies of Charity at ladiesofcharity@sjvpgh.org or 412.381.8300. St. John Vianney Parish Center is located at 823 Climax Street.
 
Overbrook Community Council Needs Volunteers
 

The OCC is seeking community members who are willing to help clean and organize the Fran Accamando Center (the old Firehouse on Rt. 51 at Maytide). For more information, e-mail 
 
Meals on Wheels needs drivers and kitchen help
 

The Carrick, Beechview, Hilltop/Mt. Washington, and Arlington Meals on Wheels programs are in need of volunteer drivers, visitors and kitchen help Monday through Friday. Volunteering requires a one and a half hour commitment for drivers and visitors and a three hour commitment for kitchen helpers once a week or as needed.
 


Carrick: For an application, call the kitchen at 412.881.0990 between 8:00 a.m. and Noon or stop by the kitchen at Concord Presbyterian Church (1907 Brownsville Rd.) from 8:30 a.m. to Noon.


 
Beechview: The Beechview Meals on Wheels kitchen is at St. Pamphilus Church (1000 Tropical Ave., 15216). To get involved, call 412.343.5455.


 
Hilltop/Mt. Washington: Including Allentown and Beltzhoover, the Hilltop/Mt. Washington Meals on Wheels kitchen is located at 631 E. Warrington Ave. Please call 412.481.1434.


 
Arlington: Serving the communities of Arlington, Mt. Oliver, Bon Air, and the Southside Slopes. Located at the Henry Kaufman Center at 2201 Salisbury Street. Please call 412.381.7727.
 
Lend a hand to the library--become a friend of the Beechview library

 
Now it’s your turn to shine: Consider becoming a member of the Friends of the Beechview Library, a community organization focused on supporting the efforts of the Beechview Library. In the past, they’ve organized flower and book sales, held an antique appraisal fair, and threw raffles, all dedicated to funding library programming for children and teens. To learn more about becoming a member, call 412.563.2900.
 
Join the Carrick-Overbrook Historical Society!

 
The Carrick-Overbrook Historical Society is selling calendars featuring historical photos of Carrick and Overbrook for $8.50. Along with the beautiful calendar, you get membership the Carrick-Overbrook Historical society and a free Heinz History Center membership which gains you and three others free access to the Center. 
 
Events
 
BREW on Broadway’s Quiz Night
Thursday, December 20th, 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at BREW on Broadway (1557 Broadway Ave)
 
Overbrook Community Council Meeting
Tuesday, October 23, 7:00 p.m. at the Overbrook Firehouse/Accamando Center (Rt. 51 across from Maytide)
 
Brookline Area Community Council
Monday, January 28, 7:00 p.m. at St. Mark’s Evangelical Lutheran Church (933 Brookline Blvd)
 
Beechview Area Concerned Citizens & Beechview Block Watch
Thursday, January 3, 7:00 p.m. & 8:00 p.m. at Beechview United Presbyterian Church (1621 Broadway Ave)
 
Carrick-Overbrook Block Watch
Monday, January 7, 2012, 7:00 p.m. at Concord Elementary (2350 Brownsville Rd)
 
Brookline Chamber of Commerce
Monday, January 14, 5:45 p.m. at CLP Brookline (708 Brookline Boulevard)
 
Brookline Block Watch
Tuesday, January 8, 7:00 p.m. at Judge Jim Motznik's Office (736 Brookline Blvd)
(monthly on the second Tuesday)
 
South Pittsburgh Development Corporation Monthly Meeting
Monday, January 21, 7:00 p.m. at Brookline Boulevard United Presbyterian Church (1036 Brookline Blvd)
 
Improving our neighborhoods and keeping them great is a process that requires involvement from people like you. Be active, and join us at any of the following events or meetings. We can't do it without you!
 
If you have questions about any of these events, feel free to give our office a call at 412.255.2131.
 
Published:
Friday, December 14, 2012
Tools
   
Archive

 

what's this?