Tuesday, February 8, 2011

PDP Looks Forward to Busy 2011

The Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership outlined an ambitious agenda for 2011 at its annual meeting Tuesday. It begins with the call to create two major documents. The PDP is in the final year of its current five-year plan and will be issuing a new outline for priorities that PDP Board President Rich Beynon says will guide the partnership and help keep it focused on the organization’s vision. The PDP is also launching a project to create a “State of Downtown Report.” Outgoing PDP President Mike Edwards says right now there is no “single source for data centric metrics” for the region’s core. He says, “The data will include residential population, office rental rates number of employees and other more ‘vitality’ type indicators including the number of new cafes, the number of conventions and visitors, the number of students.” Edwards says the data will help to provide a better understanding and a better telling of the story of an evolving downtown.

The list of 2011 goals for the PDP also includes sustaining its efforts to make downtown cleaner and safer and adding 15 more Paris to Pittsburgh projects. The Paris to Pittsburgh project is a grant-funded effort to help building and business owners spruce up their street-level facades.

“The concept is basically to bring the outside in, the inside out,” says Rich Beynon, “everything from window boxes to tables outside to redoing the store fronts themselves to have more openness, more glass, more inviting.”

Beynon says he hopes to also encourage more downtown living through loans to convert vacant upper floors and he says the PDP will be asking all of its members to including promotion of the golden triangle in general when they do build their marketing and outreach plans. The partnership will also work to raise awareness among the general public of the importance of mass transit funding for the vitality of downtown Pittsburgh.

In an effort to continue to improve the area around Market Square, the PDP has commissioned new artwork to help lead pedestrians down Market Street from 5th Avenue to Market Square. The group sees a revitalized Market Square as a key economic driver. Artist Carin Mincemoyer has created two sculptures that will hang on the light posts on the short block. Each sculpture will contain 40 eight-inch tall cut plastic diamond shapes that will each have their own LED. (See Right) Mincemoyer says she was inspired by the history of what we now call Market Square. It was once called the Diamond and Forbes Avenue was known as Diamond Street because of the diamond exchange that resided there for years. Those plastic, lighted diamonds will hang from a steel frame on the light posts.

“The structure of the sculptures is really inspired by the form of a diamond molecule,” says Mincemoyer, “so it is really about the interplay between the natural form of the diamond and the man-made shape of the diamond we are used to seeing.” The five-and-a-half foot high sculptures are intended to have a life of about 10 years.

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