Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Propel Pittsburgh Commission Makes First Recommendations

A commission made up of young people in Pittsburgh is presenting its first set of recommendations tonight. Mayor Luke Ravenstahl created the Propel Pittsburgh Commission in April 2007. The goal was to help keep young people in Pittsburgh and given them more of a voice in city government. The commission is open to Pittsburgh residents between the ages of 20 and 34.

Alik Widge serves on the commission's Diversity, Outreach and Civic Engagement Subcommittee. He says its biggest recommendation is that the Mayor's office and City Council convene a summit on immigration. Widge says the city ought to do as much as it can to attract immigrants. He says current efforts are fragmented. Another recommendation calls for a "college plunge," or efforts to "crack the bubble" around Pittsburgh universities in order to get more college students engaged in the city. Widge says one possibility would be a service-learning day involving all local universities to get students out into city neighborhoods.

Widge says the commission has had its ups and downs. He says one reason it hasn't issued recommendations before now is that fewer people are showing up to meetings. Widge also says the Mayor's office gave them little guidance at first, so they spent about a year trying to figure out what they were and weren't allowed to do.

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