Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl says he was “somewhat insulted” when he heard that reporters were snickering when Pittsburgh was announced as the host location for the G20 meeting in September. Ravenstahl says the city has been trying to overcome that image for a long time and this event will help. He says the battle is getting people to Pittsburgh because once they visit they always leave raving about how great the city is. Ravenstahl says work on forming a host committee for the event is underway. He says the committee will include “the leaders of Pittsburgh” including corporate leaders, non-profit leaders and government officials. He says the planning for an event like this needs to be very detailed. He says that ranges from logistics and public safety to selecting locations to take visitors outside of the summit’s meetings. He says there are plenty of things in the region that he would like to highlight for the visitors but he will leave the final choice up to the host committee. Ravenstahl says he has already started getting calls from businesses and community leaders who say they are excited about the potential income tat will be generated by the event itself and the potential for stronger businesses ties with the rest of the world.
Ravenstahl says the selection process started about three weeks ago and it was hard to keep it under wraps but he says the White House said if there was a leak Pittsburgh would fall out of contention.
Pittsburgh Public Safety Director Michael Huss says he is working closely with the Department of Homeland Security and will be calling in support not only from federal agencies but from other police departments in the region as well. He says they will be ready to handle the security needs of the officials and the potential crowd control needs. He says at this point he is not going to tell people to avoid downtown during the meeting. He says he “sees no reason why the city should stop just because we are having this event.” Huss says all officers are being informed that they should plan to be on duty during the two-day event. Right now there are no plans to change the date of the Great Race. It is scheduled for just two days after the last G20 session.