Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library relaunches in Pittsburgh
District 1 News: Councilman Wilson
Hello, Before city council recessed for the month of August, I proudly announced the relaunch of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library within the City of Pittsburgh. Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is a book-gifting program for children from birth through age 5, no matter their family’s income. Each month, a new, carefully selected book is mailed directly to the child’s home. There is no cost or obligation to the families of these children. These books are free gifts to children through the Imagination Library’s partnerships with local organizations and foundations.
The relaunch was made possible by funding from The Benter Foundation and the Mary Hillman Jennings Foundation, part of the Hillman Family Foundations, as well as partnerships with Reading Ready Pittsburgh, the Office of Mayor Ed Gainey and The Dollywood Foundation. While Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is active now in Pittsburgh, in a few months, city council will be looking to dedicate a full-time coordinator who will take on the important long-term work of publicizing this program using the city’s channels and resources, enrolling more families and children, and providing reports to our funding partners on the growth of this program. Families who were previously enrolled in the program will be automatically re-enrolled into the program. If you would like to learn more or to enroll a child, please visit imaginationlibrary.com/usa/affiliate/ PAPITTSBURGH/.
As we head into this fall, I wanted to share with all of you that the second round of the Outdoor Dining Grant application will be opening later this month, on Sept. 15, and closing on Oct. 16. This grant program provides funding to eligible business- supporting nonprofit organizations, community development corporations, business improvement districts and chambers of commerce to allocate towards outdoor infrastructure that allows restaurant activity to occur safely outdoors. Funds can be used to temporarily retrofit streets, sidewalks, parking spaces, alleyways and private lots to allow people to gather safely and dine outdoors in restaurants located in the City of Pittsburgh’s business districts. It is our hope that activities funded through these grants will attract foot traffic to the Northside’s business districts and main streets, encourage residents to dine and shop at local restaurants and retailers, and continue to support the economic recovery of the City of Pittsburgh following the COVID-19 pandemic. More information about this opportunity for funding for investments in outdoor dining, as well as the application, can be found at the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s Outdoor Dining Grant landing page, at ura.org/pages/ outdoor-dining If you have not already had a chance to explore the plans for the redesign of Allegheny Landing on the North Shore, I encourage you to do so this month. Allegheny Landing is an approximately 2.7-acre site situated between the Roberto Clemente and Andy Warhol Bridges on the northern bank of the Allegheny River, across from Downtown Pittsburgh. It is a jewel in our riverfront park system — a green sanctuary enveloped by an enormous urban-and-natural amphitheater, with our city’s skyline as its backdrop and the Allegheny River and three Sister Bridges taking center stage. The Landing was dedicated in 1984 as one of Pittsburgh’s first modern riverfront parks and one of the nation’s first riverfront sculpture parks. It was established in recognition of Pittsburgh’s riverfront potential for recreation and incorporating arts within the urban landscape.
Over the past several decades, Allegheny Landing has become a well-used node of Pittsburgh’s riverfront trail system. But this near-continuous use and deferred maintenance has left the Landing loved to death and in dire need of improvements. Riverlife has stepped up to lead the redesign of this riverfront park and is soliciting your feedback through the end of this month. I encourage you to visit the City of Pittsburgh’s Engage page for Allegheny Landing, at engage.pittsburghpa.gov/ allegheny-landing, and explore all the information presented there. Or, if you feel like taking a walk, visit the shipping container installed by Riverlife at the Landing to serve as a hub for community outreach. This container, open on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from noon to 2 p.m. Fridays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., and on Warhol Final Fridays from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., is outfitted as a storefront and filled with archival photos, relevant historic memorabilia, and in-process design materials. You can explore the plans for the Landing here and share your feedback and preferences directly with this project’s organizers.
Now that city council has returned from recess, we will enter budget season when the Mayor’s Office and the Office of Management and Budget present preliminary budgets for both operating and capital expenses to City Council early this fall. I would like to note that earlier this summer, I submitted more than 25 capital budget requests totaling nearly $24 million dollars for District 1. I look forward to reviewing the preliminary budget and advocating for all the pressing needs on the Northside.
Finally, I would like to introduce all of you to Jordyn Gilliard, my office’s new Constituent Services Coordinator. This fall, many of you will have the opportunity to meet Jordyn at your neighborhood’s upcoming monthly meetings. Jordyn is a native Pittsburgher and proud graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, where she recently acquired a graduate degree in International Relations and Politics, and Chatham University, where she received her undergraduate degree in Communications. She brings a great deal of experience from the worlds of professional communications, legal advocacy, and academic research, and we are thrilled to have her on board. If you would like to discuss any concerns you have about city services, I encourage you to reach out to Jordyn at email@example.com.
If you have any questions or concerns about any of the items discussed in this column or any other city issues, please call us at (412) 255-2135, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or find us on Facebook and Twitter. My staff and I look forward to hearing from you!