Riverfront Progress Report

We have beautiful rivers here in Pittsburgh. And many organizations have contributed to enhancing them with assets that range from small, contemplative parks to gathering places for events. Today…

Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato today unveiled Allegheny’s Riverfronts: A Progress Report on Municipal Riverfront Development in Allegheny County. The 2010 report, produced by Allegheny County, Friends of the Riverfront and the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, is an updated directory of existing and upcoming municipal riverfront development projects.

Some of the projects covered in the report include the Community Trails Initiative, and a plan for the conservation of Sycamore Island, near Blawnox. Closer to home are the overviews of the Armstrong Cork Factory development and the activity that continues to surround Point Park. You can read the report on Allegheny County’s website.

Allegheny County's Third Annual Christmas Tree Recycling Program

Allegheny County today announced the County’s Third Annual Christmas Tree Recycling Program will run from Dec. 26 through Jan. 22. Residents can drop off trees daily between 8:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. at the swimming pool parking lots in Boyce, North, Settler’s Cabin and South parks. All lights, decorations, tinsel and stands must be removed from trees prior to drop-off.

The trees will be mulched and used in Allegheny County’s nine regional parks.  The tree recycling program is part of Allegheny Green, the County Executive’s comprehensive initiative to promote sustainable practices within County government and through countywide policies and programs.

Onorato Announces Annual Gift Drive for Vulnerable Children

2010 DHS Holiday Project runs from November 22 through December 10

Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato today announced the launch of the 2010 DHS Holiday Project, which provides gifts to children and youth who receive services through the Department of Human Services Office of Children, Youth & Families. The gift drive will run from Monday, November 22, through Monday, December 10.

This year, the DHS Holiday Project has expanded the number of gift drop-off locations, making it more convenient for individuals to donate new, unwrapped gifts to children in need. In addition, the DHS is having a Holiday Book Drive, with drop off locations and times the same as the traditional gift drive. There are more details about the gist drive, including lists of suggested books, on the Allegheny County site.

The gift drop-off locations for the 2010 DHS Holiday Project are:

Downtown

Allegheny County Department of Human Services
One Smithfield Street
First Floor Lobby
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Monday-Friday: 7:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m.

Allegheny County Family Court
440 Ross Street
First Floor Rotunda
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
Monday-Friday: 9:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Allegheny County Executive’s Office
436 Grant Street
Room 101
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
Monday-Friday: 9:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

South

Century III Mall
Information Desk
3075 Clairton Road
West Mifflin, PA 15123
Monday-Saturday: 10:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m.
Sunday: 11:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.

Curves
Donors at this location will receive a free month of gym membership.
2940 South Park Road
Bethel Park, PA 15102
Monday & Wednesday: 7:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Tuesday & Thursday: 8:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m.
Friday: 7:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Saturday: 8:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
Sunday: Closed

North

Turner Jewelers
First 50 people who donate will receive a free Chamilia bead ornament
4960 Route 8 (in the Home Depot Shopping Plaza)
Allison Park, PA 15101
Tuesday–Friday: 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.
Saturday: 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
Sunday & Monday: Closed

Monetary donations are also welcome. Checks should be made payable to “The DHS Donation Fund” with “Holiday Project” written in the memo line. Checks may be sent to Holiday Project Coordinator, Allegheny County Department of Human Services, One Smithfield Street, First Floor, Pittsburgh, PA 15222.

The DHS Holiday Project is also partnering with the Jerome Bettis “Bus Stops Here” Foundation and Barnes & Noble Booksellers at the Waterfront in Homestead to host a book donation drive throughout December. The highlight of the book drive will be a storytelling event on Thursday, December 16, where Bettis and his mother, Gladys, will read holiday favorites to children and their families.

For additional information about the Holiday Project and for a list of gift ideas, visit www.alleghenycounty.us/dhs/HolidayProject.aspx.

County Reminds Homeowners that Property Field Reviews Are Underway

The Allegheny County Office of Property Assessments today reminded homeowners that field reviews are underway in the City of Pittsburgh and a number of other municipalities. The purpose of the reviews is to verify property data, which includes the grade and condition, as well as features such as the exterior finish and any additions made to the property. A few things to remember —

Property assessment data reviewers are required to carry photo ID cards, which are openly displayed at all times. Data reviewers are able to verify property data from their vehicles. Should data reviewers need to leave their vehicles to further examine a property, they wear green safety vests that read “Property Assessments” and also display their photo IDs. Data reviewers may also use orange safety lights to identify their vehicles while on busy streets or roadways.

Property owners do not need to be present for the review process. In the event that data reviewers need to measure the external square footage of a property, they may knock on the door of the property to notify the resident. If no one answers the door, the data reviewer will proceed to measure the exterior of the property.

Data reviewers will never ask to enter a home. If someone claims to be with the Office of Property Assessments and asks to enter a home, the property owner should call 9-1-1 immediately.

The County posts the current list of municipalities where data reviewers are working on its website at www.alleghenycounty.us/opa, on Twitter at www.twitter.com/AC_Assessments and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AlleghenyCounty.

If property owners have additional questions or concerns, they may call the OPA Public Information line at 412-350-4600 between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, or e-mail opa@alleghenycounty.us.

ALCOSAN Community Meetings

Alcosan is hosting a series of community meetings this Fall to update our customers on the development of the Wet Weather Control Plan and proposed solutions to address sewer overflows. You can find out more about the issues on the ALCOSAN site.

Sewer overflows impact everyone, and each of us can contribute to the resolution of this critical problem. By attending an upcoming meeting, you can learn about what is being considered in your community to address the public health, environmental and economic impacts of untreated sewer overflows into our region’s rivers and streams. The nearest one to Polish Hill is —

Tuesday, October 19 – East Liberty, Pgh
East Liberty Presbyterian Church, 116 S. Highland Avenue, 15206

Monday, October 25 – Etna
Clarence Fugh Memorial Hall, 437 Butler Street, 15223

All meetings will be from 5:30pm to 8:00pm.

EDIT: In addition to the community meetings, there will be a regional meeting —
Regional Meeting – 10AM – 4PM
Thursday, November 4 Heinz History Center
1212 Smallman Street | Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Questions and requests for information can be sent to Mike Lichte, ALCOSAN Manager of Planning, 412-732-8004 or michael.lichte@alcosan.org.

Thanks to Council District 7 for the heads up.

Applications now available for second year of Urban Farming Initiative

Allegheny County announced that applications are now available for the second year of the Allegheny Grows urban farming initiative, which encourages the development of community farms on vacant lots and blighted properties.

During the inaugural year of Allegheny Grows, the County offered startup materials, as well as technical and educational assistance, to develop urban farms in McKees Rocks and Millvale. The County also assisted Elizabeth Borough, Millvale, Sharpsburg, Swissvale, Tarentum and Verona in creating community gardens.

Applications are now available online (look under “Features”) or by calling Allegheny County Economic Development at 412-350-1198. In order to participate, municipalities must be eligible to receive Community Development Block Grant funds, meaning 46.7 percent or more of their populations qualify as low/moderate income households. Two communities that meet the specified requirements will be selected to develop urban farms in 2011. The application deadline is November 18.

During 2010, Millvale community members built 12 raised-bed vegetable garden plots. A group of 15 volunteers and a Boy Scout troop take care of the farm and donate the produce to the Millvale Farmers Market, which accepts low-income food assistance vouchers. Next year, Millvale plans to develop an orchard and expand its farm to adjacent vacant lots that are prone to flooding. The produce grown in McKees Rocks is donated to the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.

Urban farms offer a host of environmental, economic and social benefits. Vegetation can reflect as much as 20 to 25 percent of the sun’s radiation, reducing the heat island effect and cooling urban areas. Garden soil is absorbent, and it reduces runoff from rain and helps to minimize surface erosion. Urban farms reduce pollutants in the air by absorbing carbon dioxide and other substances. Small open spaces in urban areas provide crucial corridors for retaining native wildlife and supporting migratory species.

Urban farms offer fresh produce and healthy food opportunities, especially in economically challenged communities where access to abundant nourishing food choices is often absent. The farms become gathering places for residents, fostering social interactions and civic pride, which often helps to reduce crime. Green space also has strong potential to increase property values and encourage investment.

Allegheny County is partnering with the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy and Grow Pittsburgh, an urban agriculture non-profit organization and community gardening service provider, to administer the Allegheny Grows program and to provide technical assistance.

Rad Days: Get some culture, free!

RAD (Regional Asset District) supports and finances regional assets in the areas of libraries, parks and recreation, cultural, sports and civic facilities and programs.  The District receives one-half of the proceeds from the 1% Allegheny County Sales and Use Tax.  Each fall, RAD  Days provides the opportunity to check out some of the area’s best cultural attractions-free of charge! Rad Days started on September 1th and runs through October 24th.  Each day of the week, a few different places offer free admission and in some cases, special programming.  Look at all the things scheduled for this Saturday, October 2:

Boyce-Mayview Park free admission 9 am – 3 pm
Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall free admission 10 am – 4 pm
Pittsburgh Center for the Arts free admission 10 am – 5 pm
Allegheny-Kisky Heritage Museum free admission 11 am – 3 pm
August Wilson Center for African American Culture free admission 11 am – 6 pm
Allegheny County South Park Hay Day free admission 12  – 4 pm
Silver Eye Center for Photography free admission 12 – 6 pm
City Theatre 11th Annual Young Playwrights Festival free admission 2:30 – 4:30 pm
Pittsburgh Filmmakers free admission 7 – 11 pm

That’s just one day–check here for a full list of dates and venues, and here’s a printable flyer.  Upcoming are a free tour of PNC Park (Oct. 7), a free concert by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (Oct 9), free admission at the Heinz History Center and the Pittsburgh Zoo (Oct. 10), and free admission to the Children’s Museum, the Mattress Factory (also Oct10), and a special 24-hour celebration at the Warhol Museum (Oct 23-24).

Voter Registration Deadline for Upcoming General Election Is October 4

The Allegheny County Elections Division today announced that residents who wish to vote in the November 2 General Election must be registered by Monday, October 4. Registered voters who have moved or changed their name or party affiliation must also notify the Elections Division by October 4.

In order to qualify to vote, one must be a United States citizen at least one month prior to the election, a resident of Pennsylvania and the election district at least 30 days before the election, and 18 years of age on or before the day of election.

Individuals needing to register may apply in person Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. at the Office of the Registration Commission in Room 609 of the County Office Building located at 542 Forbes Avenue in Downtown Pittsburgh. The Elections Division will remain open until 5:00 p.m. on October 4 to accept hand-delivered voter registration forms.

Registration-by-mail forms may also be used to register or to change name, address or party affiliation. These forms are available at Armed Services Recruitment Centers, Area Agencies on Aging, as well as many branches of the U.S. Postal Service and state, county and municipal offices. Registration-by-mail forms must be postmarked by October 4.

Once the form is completed and returned to the Elections Division, approved applicants will receive a Voter Identification Card. Registered voters are encouraged to bring their ID cards to their assigned polling locations on Election Day.

Voter registration forms may also be obtained by visiting the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s website and following the link to “Register to Vote.”

Allegheny County residents can find the answers to other questions or verify their registration status online, or by calling the Elections Division at 412-350-4510.

Property Field Reviews Underway; data reviewers carry identification, will never ask to enter homes

The Allegheny County Office of Property Assessments wishes to remind homeowners that field reviews are underway in a number of municipalities.  Polish Hill is not currently on the schedule, but our residents have family and friends in areas that are, so we’re spreading the word.

The purpose of the reviews is to verify property data, which includes the grade and condition, as well as features such as the exterior finish and any additions made to the property.

Property assessment data reviewers are required to carry photo ID cards, which are openly displayed at all times. Data reviewers are able to verify property data from their vehicles. Should data reviewers need to leave their vehicles to further examine a property, they wear green safety vests that read “Property Assessments” and also display their photo IDs. Data reviewers may also use orange safety lights to identify their vehicles while on busy streets or roadways.

Property owners do not need to be present for the review process. In the event that data reviewers need to measure the external square footage of a property, they may knock on the door of the property to notify the resident. If no one answers the door, the data reviewer will proceed to measure the exterior of the property.

Data reviewers will never ask to enter a home. If someone claims to be with the Office of Property Assessments and asks to enter a home, the property owner should call 9-1-1 immediately.

The County will post the current list of municipalities where data reviewers are working on its website, on Twitter, and on Facebook.  If property owners have additional questions or concerns, they may call the OPA Public Information line at 412-350-4600 between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, or e-mail opa@alleghenycounty.us.

Hard to recycle collection

The Allegheny County Health Department is continuing with its green initiatives, arranging for a series of collection dates for hard to recycle and hazardous material disposal.

The next event, scheduled for September 25th, is for Hard to recycle items. Included in their list of acceptable drop off items are tires, E-waste, usable building materials, medical supplies, cell phones, among other items.

Fees apply for some drop off items, but they are reasonable. Tires with no rims, for instance, can be dropped off at the collection center for $2. Televisions and monitors have the highest fees, ranging from $10-$50, depending on the size. Medical supplies (crutches, canes and wheelchairs), and reusable building supplies are free to drop off.

For more information about items being accepted for this drop off, please look over the flier. A schedule and location of future drop off events are also listed. The collection is taking place —

Saturday, September 25th
10AM – 2PM
City of Pittsburgh
Environmental Services
3001 Railroad Street
Pittsburgh PA 15201