Greetings and Happy New Year! On behalf of the board of the Allegheny City Central Association, we wish you all a happy and healthy year ahead. Several years ago, our organization adopted a vision statement focused on returning all of our neighborhood’s vacant lots to productive use by the end of 2015. At the time, 2015 seemed far off in the distance, and now that 2015 is behind us I am excited to start work on implementing the new vision statement that the board developed at their retreat this past summer.
A big part of our focus previously has been working to build upon the success of recent residential and commercial development efforts and create momentum and positive activity in the northern part of our neighborhood. Moving forward, the board felt that it was important to shift focus from a rapidly maturing development climate to developing and implementing programs and ideas that strengthen our community. To that end, the board adopted the following vision statement, which was preliminarily approved by the membership at the November 2015 meeting:
Through 2020, ACCA will strengthen our neighborhood’s unique culture by engaging
all residents and encouraging commerce through events, programs, and outreach.
The adoption of this new vision represents a new direction for ACCA, and to that end, the board has tasked itself with developing a framework that can be followed by subsequent boards and community organizations. It is our hope that we can establish a pattern of community wide events, as well as foster activities that bring neighbors together, so that we might truly embody the tagline for the Allegheny City Central neighborhood, All Together. Different.
No discussion of our goals for the upcoming year would be complete without mention of the Garden Theater Block. It is a great honor and privilege to say that construction has officially begun, thanks to Henry Reese and City of Asylum! Their project will include a flexible performance space, a new restaurant, and several units of apartments on the upper floors. TREK development continues to make progress towards the rejuvenation of the block’s remaining parcels, reaching a milestone with the acquisition of the Garden Theater from previous developer Wayne Zukin. While obstacles remain, Bill Gatti of TREK Development, and Rick Belloli of Q Development remain deeply committed to the project. Once all issues are resolved, they promise full steam ahead on construction!
In 2016 we encourage you to become more involved. With our focus shifting towards outreach, events, and programming, our need for volunteers is greater than ever. During the course of my five years on the board I have learned that this neighborhood is truly fortunate to have many passionate residents who all care deeply about the well-being of their neighborhood. I am always amazed and humbled by the dedication and talent of our volunteers, and I know that together, we can make the change we desire to see. Here’s to a great 2016 – we’ve got a lot of work to do, but our neighborhood can and will do amazing things!
Allegheny City Central – All Together. Different.
– Andrew Wickesberg, ACCA President