December 2021 newsletter from Northside Councilman Bobby Wilson
Councilman Wilson describes the Northside tour he gave to Mayor-elect Ed Gainey.
Photo: Office of Councilman Wilson
At the end of this year, I will have served as your Councilman for two years. These have been a tremendously eventful pair of years. During this time, we have navigated a deadly global pandemic and a grave budget deficit. The holiday season is now upon us, and with it, a measured optimism that the worst of both the pandemic and the budget deficit is behind us. Adept and steady leadership in City Hall and a robust infusion of federal and state dollars at critical moments kept the worst consequences of both these crises at bay. As I am writing to you now, Council is meeting twice daily to finalize the City of Pittsburgh’s allocations to essential services, personnel, and departments in next year’s Capital and Operating Budgets. In the new year, I am looking forward to announcing several projects and facilities on the Northside that will be funded in next year’s budget.
Also in the new year, Ed Gainey will take office as Pittsburgh’s 61st mayor. I am very proud of my relationship with Mayor Bill Peduto and his team. In the past two years, we worked together every day to get a great deal done on the Northside. Now, I am looking forward to building a robust and productive relationship with Mayor-elect Ed Gainey and his new team.
It was important to me to show Mayor-elect Gainey the incredible assets we have here on the Northside. I also wanted to show him all the places where the City needs to keep investing. Because of the topography of the Northside, our neighborhoods require more investment to maintain the same level of infrastructure as other districts. So, I invited Mayor-elect Gainey on a tour of the district to show him and his team the opportunities and needs on the Northside.
First, we drove through Riverview Park and stopped to highlight several of the nine landslides in the park. In other regional parks in Pittsburgh, a million dollars could go a long way toward fixing structures, improving trails, or building water fountains. In Riverview Park, however, we need several million dollars just to keep the park from collapsing, by addressing existing landslides and taking preventative measures to stop more slides from occurring. I made it clear to Mayor-elect Gainey that all Northsiders want well-built and first-rate amenities in Riverview Park, and that we will need his administration to step up to make Riverview Park as wonderful of a regional park as every other major park in the city of Pittsburgh.
I also took Mayor-elect Gainey to visit Allen Place and the Pride Project, two amazing community-oriented organizations operating on Bonvue Street in Observatory Hill that offer essential programming to seniors and young people here on the Northside. I’ve been proud to allocate funds for these organizations during both of my years in office and I wanted to show off their great work to the new mayor. The last stop on the hilltop section of our tour was at Scratch & Co in Troy Hill. I wanted Mayor-elect Gainey to visit a thriving neighborhood restaurant and also get a sense of the many challenges small business owners on the Northside face, such as a proliferation of vacant storefronts and the challenges posed by figuring out how to be a viable neighborhood business that both serves its community and attracts visitors from all over the city.
Finally, we visited the largest business district on the Northside: East Ohio Street. Revitalizing East Ohio Street is one of my top priorities, and it was fitting to end the tour at the biergarten next to Fig & Ash. At this location, I hosted a joint community gathering with Mayor-elect Gainey and Rep. Emily Kinkead to talk with neighbors from all over the Northside about their visions for their communities. I am tremendously grateful to all the residents and community leaders who helped make this tour possible, and to everyone that came out to meet Mayor-elect Gainey and myself.
If you have any questions or concerns, call us at 412-255-2135, email us at email@example.com, or find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. My staff and I wish all of you a joyous holiday season and a Happy New Year. We look forward to hearing from you in 2022!
COUNCILMAN, DISTRICT 1