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URA Newsletter: The Beatles Edition
Low-income seniors, veterans and disabled residents who need help keeping their homes warm and safe will have a helping hand, thanks to a partnership announced by Mayor Ravenstahl made possible by a $500,000 grant from The Home Depot Foundation.  The collaborative effort, called the Sustainable Home Improvement Partnership (SHIP), will streamline the work of homeowner support groups and utilize community volunteers to rehab and weatherize approximately 70 homes in low-income neighborhoods over the next two years.

“We’re excited to be partnering with The Home Depot Foundation, yet again, to improve the quality of life for our City’s most vulnerable residents,” Ravenstahl said. “Up until now, residents who needed help making costly and necessary home repairs had to navigate through several different support agencies. Now, we are streamlining this process and putting more muscle behind it with help from Home Depot and community volunteers so that we can touch more residents in need more efficiently.”

Through the partnership, home repair agencies and community volunteers with the Mayor’s servePGH initiative will connect to make life-safety and weatherization repairs, such as handicapped accessibility upgrades; plumbing, electrical and utility improvements; structural integrity upgrades; and homeowner counseling services.  The partnership will initially serve low-income seniors, veterans and disabled residents and families that have already been awaiting much-needed services from the partner agencies.  

SHIP is a joint effort of Mayor Ravenstahl, the Urban Redevelopment Authority, Pittsburgh Partnership for Neighborhood Development, The Home Depot Foundation, and the following organizations: ACTION-Housing, Inc., Hosanna Industries, Nazareth Housing Services, NeighborWorks Western PA, Pittsburgh Community Services, Inc., The Pittsburgh Project, Rebuilding Together Pittsburgh, and Three Rivers Center for Independent Living.

For more information on how you can volunteer with SHIP or access services, click here.

Read more here, here, here and here.

With a Little Help from My Friends
On Oct. 13 and 14, Urban Redevelopment Authority staff took their monthly "Lunch and Learn" program a step further than the usual hour by participating in a two-day volunteer event with Rebuilding Together Pittsburgh (RTP).

Twenty-eight URA employees joined RTP and neighborhood volunteers from Homewood Operation Better Block and the Save Race Street Committee to provide free home repairs to three senior citizens living along Race Street.

Repairs included painting, flooring, ceiling repair, and bathroom fixtures. In addition, volunteers removed trash and applied decorative coverings to the windows and doors of two dozen vacant houses.

Partners included the Mayor's Office, Councilman Rev. Ricky Burgess's Office, the City's Board Up Crew and the Department of Public Works Redd Up Crew, who cleaned and trimmed vacant properties along Race Street.

"It was a great way to reconnect with the purpose of the URA's mission," said Megan Stearman, URA staff volunteer. "The gratitude expressed by Mr. Woods is something I will take with me and use as motivation for my daily work. I can honestly say it was one of the most rewarding days of my career in community development. I look forward to the URA participating in more events like these in the future."

Rebuilding Together Pittsburgh is in its second year of a five-year commitment to work in the Homewood neighborhood. The URA donated $10,000 to RTP for supplies and materials.

RTP is a non profit organization that provides free home repairs and renovates the homes of low-income, elderly homeowners and individuals with physical disabilities.

Read more hereherehere and here.

With a Little Help
Things We Said Today
We have a strategy of demolition, of green up different lots to help solidify housing prices, to keep peoples' equities in their homes. This is a project we hope to replicate all across the city."  - David Howe, URA    More

"I've lived all my life within five blocks of here," James Layne, a lifelong resident of Manchester said. "I think this is great -- great for our community -- and the thing is, we have room for more of this."  More

"With the success of Bakery Square -- particularly as a hub for high technology businesses -- it is imperative that we find a way to accommodate the growth and needs of these companies/institutions," Todd Reidbord, president of Walnut Capital stated.

To that end, a new Pittsburgh Innovation Economic Panel will work with start-ups and nurture "the next Steve Jobs who might be at CMU or Pitt right now," Mr. Ravenstahl said, referring to the founder of Apple who died Wednesday.

"This transit center is really the next linchpin in the high-value rebirth of the community," URA Executive Director Rob Stephany said. "That investment very likely could leverage almost $100 million in other investments."

Things We Said
Magical Mystery Tour
On October 24 and 25, the Pittsburgh City Living initiative, in collaboration with the REALTORS® Association of Metropolitan Pittsburgh and REALTORS® Educational Institute, offered the fourth continuing education course for real estate professionals.

The course provides tools and information to real estate professionals to take the mystery out of selling homes in City of Pittsburgh neighborhoods, and to help potential home buyers find the right City neighborhood in which to live based on their lifestyles.

Congratulations to the following students who successfully completed the course!

Maryann J. Bacharach     Leesa C. Belt-Haglund

Lynne Y. Bingham           Deborah Blaner

Sandra E. Bluestein         Nick Bova

Diane R. Brillman             Jo Carol Conrad

Anthony C. Cost              Leanne E. Dresmich

Susan Highley                 Susan M. Kaczorek

Craig A. Keto                   Lisa Kubany

Cheryl A. McConnell         Michelle L. McConnell

Gina M. Mercurio              Paul Neff

Michael J. Toretti              Suzy M. Voss

The two-day course will be offered again in the spring.

You can still become a Neighborhood Ambassador! Just fill out and submit the online application.

Want to let others know what's so great about your neighborhood? Now you can! Take a minute and submit a testimonial.

Follow PittsburghCityLiving on Facebook.

Magical Mystery Tour
In My Life: Gerry Williams
Job Title: Urban Designer

What you actually do: Visioning and master plans, feasibility studies, design review of larger projects, and developing various plans to support different departments. 

Years at URA: 15 

Best thing about working at the URA: Time off for my sons football games

Favorite project/Most satisfying moment in career: Having involvement in the Steel Heritage Monument at the South Side Works. It was a chance to move ahead a local artist’s career and celebrate those of our heritage.

Education: Masters of Urban Design(MUP)City College in NY/Bachelor of Architecture Oklahoma University; Certified Planner for over 15 years.

Where you were before the URA: Development Planning Manager at the Edward J. DeBartolo Corporation in Boardman, Ohio. I originally started my career in our City’s Department of City Planning in 1983.

If you were boss for the day: Make everyone do yoga and insist that once a month we all trade jobs.

The Boss says..."Jerry astounds me with his ability to look at very complicated urban development sites and quickly put together very inspirational and very doable design vignettes.  The URA should feel extremely lucky to have such a thoughtful and pragmatic design talent under its roof," said Rob Stephany.

If you weren't at the URA you'd be ...Teaching or working in a real estate development firm. 

First job: Owned a lawn maintenance company (30 lawns) and at the same time worked midnights as a switch foreman on a railroad. It put me through school.

Favorite athlete: Doug Flutie…he never quit.

Favorite restaurant: Pizzuitti’s in Shadyside

Favorite thing to do when not at work: Gardening

Secret vice: Oreos and Milk

What three words describe you best: Persistent, Overbearing, and Thorough when necessary.

Favorite TV show when you were young: My Three Sons

Three favorite foods: Barbeque Ribs, Sweet Potatoes, and Pecan Pie

Three people (living or dead) you’d like to have dinner with: Ronald Reagan (Best Republican ever), Dick Caliguiri, and John Wayne.

Actor/actress who would play you in a movie: Clint Eastwood, he's straight and narrow.

People would be surprised to know that I not do drugs and hang out with Dave Thomas.

Family: Two older brothers, two sons in Chicago at Northwestern University, my girlfriend

Pets: Goldfish in the backyard pond I made and my girlfriend’s “hounds”

Contact info:   412-255-6595

In My Life
From Me to You
With a Little Help from My Friends
Things We Said Today
Magical Mystery Tour
Please Please Me
In My Life: Gerry Williams
Here, There and Everywhere

It's so important for our health and well being to remember to be thankful. URA staff have much to be grateful for during this festive season and all year long.

What are you thankful for?

"I am thankful for the URA's Third Thursdays (staff education programs) for bringing up good topics and events like volunteering with Rebuilding Together Pittsburgh." - Amy Gilligan
"I am thankful for my granddaughter's good health.  Monique is 3 years old now and is cancer free!! She had a lengthy battle with neuroblastoma. Thanks to her knowledgeable doctors, loving  parents, and outstanding grandparents (ha ha) she is still vibrant, smart and beautiful." - Jarmele Fairclaugh

"There are many things - thankful for rising each morning,  for a job (in these times), for a home when so many are losing them, and for healthy children and granddaughter." - Joy Akrie

"I'm thankful for the "secret" executive lounge and sauna at 200 Ross!" - John Burke

Read more here.





Pittsburgh Launches $100,000 Contest to Raise Awareness of the Region as a Destination for Experienced Dreamers™

Each of us has a dream – some great thing we'd like to do with our lives, something we feel we were born to achieve. And Pittsburgh civic leaders have announced a national contest in search of experienced dreamers who are ready to begin chasing their dreams.

The Experienced Dreamers contest is asking people 45 and older from across the country to share their dreams at and is offering a $100,000 prize – the winner will receive $50,000 cash and $50,000 charitable trust to pursue their dream here.  The entry will ultimately be selected by a public vote of the people of Pittsburgh.

“For so many of us, there’s always something that keeps us from chasing our dreams,” said Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl. “We say ‘someday’ as we deal with the things that are holding us back today. But here in Pittsburgh, we know that dreams become great businesses, great art and great solutions to the problems of the world. And so, we’re announcing the Experienced Dreamers contest to find an experienced dreamer – somebody whose ‘someday’ has finally come – and to provide the resources to help them realize their inspiring and potentially transformative dream in our region.”

Read more here, here and here 


...ary City, that is! National Geogra- phic Traveler named the City of Pittsburgh one of 20 Best in the World, Must-see Destinations in 2012, stating that we're a "revolutionary" place to visit!

(3) Kudos to Market Square!

Market Square was named 2011 IDA Merit Award Winner for excellence in downtown management by The International Downtown Association (IDA);10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania awarded Market Square its highest award, Gold Level, for smart land use, smart design and smart growth; and the Square also ranked seventh in the “Top 100 Public Places Contest” by IdeaScale.  Not too shabby!   Read more

Kudos to the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust

The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust's mobile parking app, ParkPGH, directs theatre-goers to open parking spots so efficiently it was recognized as one of the "smartest parking solutions in the country."


Request for Qualifications: Tenant Representative

The Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh is soliciting qualifications from real estate brokers, tenant representatives, firms or a combination of such to assist in finding suitable office space for either lease or purchase in the City of Pittsburgh. Proposals due: November 4, 2011 at 5:00 p.m. Read More

Request for Qualifications: Vacant Land Along the Ohio River in the Chateau Neighborhood of the City of Pittsburgh  

The Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh is seeking a developer/development team for the redevelopment of vacant former industrial land along the Ohio River in the city’s Chateau neighborhood. This nearly 6 acre site is located along Pittsburgh’s North Shore, near the Rivers Casino, Carnegie Science Center, and Heinz Field. Easy highway access via the West End Bridge, Ohio River Boulevard, or I-376 make this site accessible to anywhere in the Pittsburgh region. NEW DEADLINE - Proposals Due: Friday, November 11, 2011 at 12:00 p.m. RFQ  Addendum

Fast Fact: Did you Know that all City of Pittsburgh and URA properties for sale are available online? Visit  for a complete listing!



November Dates

Nov. 6     Daylight Savings Time ends - fall back one hour!

Nov. 8     General Election day

Nov. 10    Full Moon

Nov. 11    Veteran's Day

Nov. 24    Thanksgiving

Nov. 25    Black Friday

Nov. 28    Cyber Monday

Monthly inspiration:

I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again. ~William Penn

Turkey Fast Fact: Nearly 88 percent of Americans surveyed by the National Turkey Federation eat turkey at Thanksgiving. The average weight of turkeys purchased for Thanksgiving is 16 pounds, meaning that approximately 736 million pounds of turkey were consumed in the United States during Thanksgiving in 2010.

For those of you who may need a little help this November 24... Butterball Turkey Hotline - 1-800-BUTTERBALL (1-800-288-8372). 


Click on the picture for the History of Thanksgiving