April 13, 2010 |

Preserve Pittsburgh plans for city's future by looking at the past

The first public meetings for PRESERVEPGH, the city's cultural heritage planning effort, will inform interested residents about the planning effort and gather information on the cultural and historic resources in the community and the ways they are cared for and protected.

"A critically important part of the planning process is community involvement," said Mayor Luke Ravenstahl. "These meetings will allow residents to share their opinions about the historic resources they cherish - whether it's an important building, a park or other landscape feature, or memories and events related to the city's past. Their input will help the city make decisions about future historic preservation efforts."

The meetings will be nearly identical in content and will be held in three different locations across the city, Lawrenceville, West End and the North Side, so that residents can choose the one closest to their home. All meetings run from 6 - 8 p.m. and are free and open to the public.

In addition to the meetings, residents may also submit their input via an online web survey through May 23, at www.planpgh.com. Paper copies of the survey will be made available at the public meetings or upon request to the Department of City Planning, 200 Ross St, 4th Floor, Pittsburgh, PA 15219 or by calling 412-255-2200.

A second round of public meetings will be held early next fall, when residents will have an opportunity to review and comment on preliminary recommendations that will be developed from: public input from the first round of meetings; interviews with experts in the field of historic preservation and cultural heritage conservation; background research on how other cities approach heritage conservation; analysis of existing lists of historic properties; and the processes the city uses to nominate, preserve, re-use and market historic buildings and properties.

The Department of City Planning will serve as the primary organizer of the effort, with assistance from T&B Planning Consultants Inc., a Murrysville based firm, as the lead consultant. The Walker Collaborative and Thomason & Associates, both based in Nashville, Tennessee, will also assist with the plan. The consultant team, which was selected through a competitive proposal process, boasts expertise in historic, and community character preservation, and public participation.

PRESERVEPGH is expected to take one year to complete. The budget for the plan is $133,000 with funding provided by the City of Pittsburgh, the PA Department of Community and Economic Development, the PA Historical and Museum Commission, and Preserve America program.

The first PRESERVEPGH public meeting was held in Lawrenceville on April 12; the South/West meeting is on Thur., April 15, 6:00 - 8:00 p.m., James Center, 327 South Main Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15220; the North meeting is Mon., April 19, 6:00 - 8:00 p.m., New Hazlett Theatre , 6 Allegheny Square E, Pittsburgh, PA 15212

As one of the opening chapters to the city's developing Comprehensive Plan, PRESERVEPGH will provide the city with a working document that identifies historic and cultural assets; considers the issues, problems and opportunities associated with those resources; and develops goals, policies, and strategies for their appropriate use, conservation, preservation and protection.

For more information contact Katherine Molnar, historic preservation planner, Department of City Planning at 412-255-2243 or Katherine.molnar@city.pittsburgh.pa.us.

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