Pittsburgh leaders share vision to revitalize Downtown through 3 projects

PITTSBURGH — On Wednesday, Pittsburgh and Allegheny County officials shared a new vision for the future of the Steel City.

The leaders want to focus on three spots in particular: Market Square, the Cultural District and Point State Park. Officials say the plan is about ensuring a thriving and successful Pittsburgh.

Channel 11′s Jillian Hartmann toured the areas tabbed for improvements with local leaders.

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“Keeping a central open lawn but thinking all of the edges to kind of draw you in — to create things like running tracks, a children’s play area, places for outdoor cafe, an area for dog runs,” Lisa Switkin, a partner at Field Operations, said about Point State Park.

The plan also includes adding amenities on the medians along Liberty Avenue and more space and seating for the businesses and people in Market Square.

“I think the goal is to make this the most vibrant place in western Pennsylvania,” said Jeremy Waldrup, the president of Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership.

Leaders say they are working with local, state and federal agencies on these upgrades. They also plan to get public input.

“It’s very important to get input, get the facts, get the data that we need to make an informed decision and we want to transform this into something for the next 50 years,” said Mayor Ed Gainey.

Another proposed project is creating a green space, outdoor amphitheater and play area for families in the Cultural District and by the Allegheny River.

Officials hope to get the work done in the next two years, which is around the time the NFL Draft will be in town.

“With the North Star of the draft we got to make this thing happen,” said Matthew Galluzzo, the president of Riverlife.

“The Steelers are a key partner in this work and very well aware of how this will showcase the city when they bring the draft to Pittsburgh. We were certainly on our way before we knew about the draft,” said Stefani Pashman, the CEO of Allegheny Conference on Community Development.

Downtown Pittsburgh was hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic, but leaders hope these improvements attract more visitors and people to live and work in the city.

“We are about 94% in our pre-pandemic levels for attendance for district performance. This is huge for us, actually trending above a number of our peer cities because people are coming to performances and events,” said Kendra Whitlock Ingram, CEO and president of Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.

Visitors we spoke with think the plan is a great idea.

“It’s excellent. I think it would help bring more people into the city,” Thomas Williams said.

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