Planners Want A Park To Replace Part Of Pittsburgh Zoo’s Asphalt Parking Lot

Locator map with the Highland Park neighborhoo...

Locator map with the Highland Park neighborhood in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania highlighted. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

City and neighborhood leaders envision a dramatic transformation of the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium’s parking lot and surrounding areas into a park-like expanse including a soccer field and a trail that would extend from Morningside all the way to the Allegheny River.

City Council this month approved the first installment of funding for planning what would be a multimillion-dollar project, which has the backing of Highland Park and Morningside neighborhood leaders and the zoo.

The Heth’s Run Ecological and Recreational Restoration Project, more than a decade in the making, will encompass about a mile of city-owned land from Heth’s Run Playfields behind Chislett Street in Morningside to the Allegheny riverfront.

The project includes a wheelchair-accessible trail through the wooded valley adjacent to the fields into a former city Department of Public Works storage yard and abandoned dumping ground behind the zoo’s parking lot. The paved trail will hug the outer edge of the parking lot, loop under the new Heth’s Run Bridge being built on Butler Street and out to the riverfront.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/local/city/2014/07/26/Planners-want-park-to-replace-part-of-Pittsburgh-Zoo-PPG-Aquariums-parking-lot/stories/201407260045#ixzz38aV0kjAZ

New Solar-Powered Car-Charging Stations Unveiled In Robinson

The Mall at Robinson

The Mall at Robinson (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  When we were on assignment in Pittsburgh a few weeks ago, we stayed across the street from the Mall at Robinson and walked right by these very charging stations.  Should have taken a picture….drat!  Oh well, hindsight is 20/20 but if you read the whole article the Post Gazette took a nice picture for your viewing pleasure.

In the parking lot outside the food court at the Mall at Robinson, a silver Chevy Volt sat in a space painted with a green and white electric vehicle decal, waiting for a jolt. Inside, representatives from Eaton and Wesco gathered by a gray kiosk that monitors the amount of energy being generated by the new 8 kilowatt solar panels on top of the mall.

By 11 a.m. the panels had generated 4.11 kw of energy, enough to power 46 laptops. They also generated enough power to give an electric car a full charge in two hours. That’s a perk for hybrid drivers because the mall’s newest car charging stations are connected to the panels.

The charging stations were officially unveiled at a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday, but they have been operational since June. Beth Edwards, the mall’s general manager, said she has been surprised by the response.

“I’ve seen several cars using it. We actually had a mall walker who went out and bought an electric car so they could charge it when they’re walking in the mall,” she said.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/business/2014/07/25/Mall-at-Robinson-unveils-new-solar-powered-car-charging-stations/stories/201407250036#ixzz38VRlqzoC

All Aboard! $200K Grant Bolsters Plan For Boyertown-To-Pottstown Rail Service

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

BOYERTOWN, PA — Progress on the revitalization of the Colebrookdale Railroad these days means more than pulling refurbished passenger cars along the picturesque 9-mile track on the shores of Manatawny Creek.

These days progress is being measured in cars and engines acquired, being fixed up and put into service.

And Wednesday marked another milestone on the railroad’s journey to full service when Executive Director Nathaniel Guest announced last week’s awarding of a $200,000 grant to begin construction of “railroad station infrastructure right here in Boyertown.”

The announcement came after the train — pulling cars packed with more than 70 federal and state legislators, county commissioners and municipal officials of all stripes — arrived at the downtown yard to the applause of a crowd that had gathered to welcome it.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140723/all-aboard-200k-grant-bolsters-plan-for-boyertown-to-pottstown-rail-service

LEHIGH VALLEY IS HOME TO 1,405 ARTS BUSINESSES THAT EMPLOY 7,714 PEOPLE, ACCORDING TO A NEW ANALYSIS OF DUN & BRADSTREET DATA BY AMERICANS FOR THE ARTS

Arts Industry Comprises 3.8% of All Businesses and 2.3% Percent of the Employment in the Lehigh Valley region

Lehigh Valley, PA – A new research study published by Americans for the Arts uses statistical data to quantify the scope and economic importance of the arts in the Lehigh Valley region, or Carbon, Lehigh, and Northampton Counties. The Creative Industries are defined as arts businesses that range from nonprofit museums, symphonies, and theaters to for-profit film, architecture, and design companies. Arts businesses and the creative people they employ stimulate innovation, strengthen America’s competitiveness in the global marketplace, and play an important role in building and sustaining economic vibrancy.

The Creative Industries in the Lehigh Valley include 1,405 nonprofit and for-profit businesses, employing 7,714 employees—comprising 3.8% of all businesses and 2.3% of the people they employ, according to the Creative Industries: Business & Employment in the Arts in the Lehigh Valley report. The findings are based on an analysis of Dun & Bradstreet data, the most comprehensive and trusted source for business information in the United States. The study was conducted by Americans for the Arts—the nation’s leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education—and includes analyses of 11,000 unique political and geographic regions in the U.S. The data are current as of January 2014.

The analysis demonstrates a larger-than-expected prevalence of arts business establishments, while the mapping analysis shows that these businesses are broadly distributed and thriving throughout the Lehigh Valley and not, as is sometimes believed, strictly in the downtown areas.

“The scope and numbers of the arts businesses represented in the Creative Industries Study reinforce the importance of the arts to our local economy and quality of life.” says Randall Forte, Executive Director of the Lehigh Valley Arts Council. “The arts are about jobs, jobs, and more jobs and deserve a seat at the economic development table.”

Arts Industry Resilient

Nationwide, the Creative Industries reports reveal that arts businesses are formidable: 750,453 businesses involved in the creation or distribution of the arts employ 3.1 million people. This represents 4.2% of all U.S. businesses and 2.1% of all U.S. employees, respectively. One of the remarkable national findings from the research, which dates back to 2004, is that arts businesses and employment have maintained this share of businesses and employment during the nation’s up and down economic cycles—demonstrating that the Creative Industries are as resilient and durable as other sectors of the economy.

“The Creative Industries reports are powerful tools for understanding what a major force arts and culture businesses are for the economy—not only nationally, but also locally, in every community across our country,” says Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “These reports should be in every legislator’s office and every city hall, reminding community leaders that the arts are key drivers of the local economy, new employers, jobs, and improvement of the quality of life through their work. The Creative Industries say one thing loud and clear: the arts mean business!”

ABOUT CREATIVE INDUSTRIES REPORTS

The Creative Industries reports are created by Americans for the Arts using Dun & Bradstreet business data. Downloadable reports for the nation’s 435 federal legislative districts, all 50 states and the District of Columbia, 3,144 counties, and 7,400 state legislative districts, along with national comparative reports, can be freely downloaded at http://www.AmericansForTheArts.org/CreativeIndustries.

About the Lehigh Valley Arts Council

The Lehigh Valley Arts Council is a nonprofit 501(c)3, membership-supported organization that serves as a regional advocate and ambassador for the Lehigh Valley arts community. Its mission is to promote the arts; to encourage and support artists and their development; to assist arts organizations; and to facilitate communication and cooperation among artists, arts organizations and the community. Through collaborative partnerships, it continues to provide access to the local arts community through education, research, professional development seminars and cooperative marketing initiatives.

If 4 Atlantic City Casinos Close In September, Then What?

English: Atlantic City (NJ) - The boardwalk in...

English: Atlantic City (NJ) – The boardwalk in a rainy day (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

ATLANTIC CITY, NJ – This resort faces the prospect of having four major vacancies on its famed Boardwalk come mid-September.

The grim reality sank in July 14 when Trump Plaza issued layoff notices and targeted Sept. 16 as the date to cease operating as a casino.

Perception is reality in tourism, experts say, and the Boardwalk is synonymous with Atlantic City. How will four hulking, empty buildings sit with visitors – especially at night – and will they impede tourism when Atlantic City needs it the most?

“When an area goes dark, and there are increased vacancies, it generally sends out more than a subtle message that things are not promising on the horizon,” said Don Moliver, dean of the Leon Hess Business School at Monmouth University.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20140722_Atlantic_City_lights_dimmer_in_September.html#LRbj1JvhlyPXrwkJ.99

Pittsburgh Planners See Potential In A Revamped Mellon Square

DSC01808Could Mellon Square become the next Market Square?

While it’s no European-style piazza, some believe the area around the newly restored park could be primed to become one of Downtown’s next hot spots for restaurants and retail.

“I see it becoming the next great Downtown destination,” said Herky Pollock, executive vice president of the CBRE real estate firm.

Only a few years ago, the Smithfield Street corridor between Fifth and Liberty avenues that includes Mellon Square appeared to be ready for last rites.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/local/city/2014/07/21/Planners-developers/stories/201407200210#ixzz3892O45lx

Treetop Adventure Debuts At Elmwood Park Zoo, Norristown

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

NORRISTOWN, PA— Has it been a while since you’ve swung through the trees like Tarzan?

Do you harbor a burning hunger to break free from your civilized cage and bond with nature in a fundamental way, even though your primal survival skills are a little rusty?

Designed for thrill-seekers of all ages, Treetop Adventure Park Philadelphia at Elmwood Park Zoo — created by Treetop Concept LLC — puts kids and adults through their aerial paces with multiple obstacle courses that are marked by challenging games and zip lines to satisfy the average athletic extremist.

For those not familiar with the exploit, a zip line is formed by a pulley suspended way up in the air on a cable, with the suspended adventure-seeker holding onto or being attached to a free-moving pulley by a harness.

Read more: http://www.timesherald.com/general-news/20140718/treetop-adventure-debuts-at-elmwood-park-zoo-norristown

ArtsQuest Announces Next President & CEO‏

Kassie-HilgertOver the past 30 years, ArtsQuest has been honored to share some huge news with the community, most recently through the development of the SteelStacks arts and cultural campus. Today, we’re excited to share one of the biggest announcements in our history.

This afternoon, we announced that ArtsQuest Senior Vice President of Marketing and Advancement Kassie Hilgert will be named the next President & CEO of ArtsQuest.

Since joining ArtsQuest in 2008, Kassie has demonstrated amazing leadership abilities, an incredible passion for our arts and cultural mission and a thorough understanding of the Lehigh Valley and the many elements that make it so special. Kassie has developed numerous partnerships with local, regional and national corporate partners, community organizations and foundations, helping ArtsQuest greatly expand its arts and cultural programming in recent years. As Senior Vice President of Marketing and Advancement, she is responsible for overseeing the sponsorship, marketing, development, ticketing, public relations and volunteer departments, which include 27 full- and part-time employees dedicated to supporting our mission.

Over the next several months, Kassie will work closely with ArtsQuest Founder and current President Jeff Parks while meeting with ArtsQuest staff, board members, volunteers, sponsors, partners and members of our community. She will officially assume the President & CEO’s responsibilities when Jeff retires in January 2015.

As for Jeff, while he may be retiring after three decades dedicated to arts, culture and our community, he won’t be riding off into the sunset just yet. Starting in May 2015, Jeff will assume the part-time role as the new Executive Director of the ArtsQuest Foundation, the nonprofit foundation established to help ensure the long-term sustainability of our organization as we continue to grow and expand our programming for the region.

I invite you to congratulate Kassie on this great accomplishment when you see her. Under her leadership, along with the support of our dedicated and creative staff, board and volunteers, ArtsQuest will continue be a national leader in providing access to exceptional arts and cultural programs and events.

Joe Pietrantonio
President, ArtsQuest Board of Trustees

‘Celebrate Downtown’ Shines Light On Pittsburgh Revitalization

Downtown Pittsburgh as seen from PNC Park across the Allegheny River

Downtown Pittsburgh as seen from PNC Park across the Allegheny River

Downtown should be an exciting place to go or live. It remains an important indicator of any city’s health.

For the past 20 years, the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership has worked to revitalize Downtown and will call attention to its progress with eight days of activities called “Celebrate Downtown” from July 14 to 21.

New this year to the annual Celebrate Downtown attractions are Dining Around, sampling food and drink at some of the city’s most highly regarded restaurants; All Access Pittsburgh, a series of tours; and Open Streets, which will create space for people to enjoy part of Downtown free of cars, buses and trucks.

The creation of the Cultural District and revitalization of Market Square are only part of the changes Downtown. More than 12,000 people live Downtown now, with more than 2,000 new apartments coming.

Read more: http://triblive.com/aande/moreaande/6418404-74/downtown-july-market#ixzz37GwwnvK9
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Changing Skyline: Is ‘Over-Success’ In Development Hurting Philadelphia?

English: 1616 Walnut Street Building in Philad...

English: 1616 Walnut Street Building in Philadelphia. On NRHP since October 17, 1983 1616 Walnut Street in Rittenhouse Square East neighborhood of Center City. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It wasn’t long ago that Philadelphia’s movers and shakers were lamenting that the city was being ignored by international retailers. Those chains finally discovered the city, and now they’re colonizing the shopping districts around Rittenhouse Square and the West Philadelphia universities at a stunning pace. Sometimes, the only way to be sure you’re not at the King of Prussia Mall is to look up at the sky.

Having gotten what it wished for, the city is starting to feel the first side effects of what New York urbanist Kent Barwick, former head of the Municipal Arts Society, identified as “the over-successful city.”

This may sound like an odd worry in a town that looks over its shoulder and still sees Detroit. It’s certainly great that the chains help draw throngs to Walnut and Chestnut Streets again. They’ve brought their stylish displays and uncovered the dormant charms of many old commercial buildings. Yet, there is a numbing sameness to much of the retail. You’ve seen identical mannequins in identical outfits perched in windows on New York’s Fifth Avenue, Boston’s Newbury Street, and Chicago’s Michigan Avenue.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/columnists/inga_saffron/20140711_Is__over-success__in_development_hurting_Phila__.html#OwFqlzCPsHwibjmA.99

Your Vote Could Help A Tri-County Area Park Win $10,000.00

A simple visit to this site and a click of your mouse could help your favorite Pottstown Area park win some serious loot. Your favorite recreation spot might be on this list.  The rules are simple and you can vote daily.  Plus it’s free!  Sponsored by the Pottstown Area Health and Wellness Foundation.

Click here to vote:  http://14-potahwf-0197.theandersongrp.com/

For example: if you enjoy all the activities in Memorial Park in Pottstown (like the Rumble), it’s on the list.

DSC01756

SteelStacks’ Success With World Cup Parties Raises Curiosity About Future Sporting Events

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northampton C...

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northampton County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Curt Mosel, for good reasons that didn’t initially occur to me, shot down my ideas.

I envisioned a cool fall night sitting on a lawn chair, beer in hand, watching the World Series among fellow baseball fans on the big screens at SteelStacks.

Then came the potential of football fans bundling up on Super Bowl Sunday and heading down to the South Bethlehem venue, where restaurant vendors would compete to serve the best hot chili to warm up the crowd as they watched the big game on the same screens.

The spring would come around, and those screens in the shadows of the Bethlehem Steel blast furnaces would air the NCAA tournament, giving folks in the Lehigh Valley an excuse to leave work a little early and cheer on an underdog while they took in perhaps the first day of pleasant weather after a long winter.

Read more: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/nick-falsone/index.ssf/2014/07/steelstacks_success_with_world.html

Sly Fox Planning To Move Goat Races To Pottstown

POTTSTOWN, PA — If Jixxer hopes to repeat as Sly Fox Goat Race champion or Spartacus wins legitimately, it appears that it will have to be done in Pottstown, not East Pikeland, next year.

Sly Fox has let borough officials in Pottstown know of plans to move the annual spring Bockfest to Pottstown’s Circle of Progress from its traditional location at the brew pub along Route 113.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140709/sly-fox-planning-to-move-goat-races-to-pottstown

PHS Pop-Up Garden To Offer A Summer’s Worth Of Tropical Entertainment

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia ...

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Once again, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society has transformed a vacant space into a lush hangout spot, perfect for leisurely summer afternoons and evenings. This year’s PHS Pop-Up Garden sits at 1438-46 South Street (next to the Jamaican Jerk Hut) and officially opens on Tuesday, July 8 at 5:30 p.m. and remains open seven days a week until mid-October.

The garden itself is open to the public starting at 11 a.m. Mondays through Fridays, 2 p.m. on Saturdays and noon on Sundays while food and drink will be served from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 5 p.m. to midnight on Fridays, 2 p.m. to midnight on Saturdays and noon to 10 p.m. on Sundays. Expect tropical cocktails, craft beer, a changing group of food trucks and Caribbean menu items from the Jamaican Jerk Hut.

Read more: http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/things_to_do/PHS-Pop-Up-Garden-to-offer-a-summers-worth-of-tropical-entertainment.html

Festival Prep Kicks Into High Gear

Counties constituting the Happy Valley Region ...

Counties constituting the Happy Valley Region of Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Setup for large events like the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts and Philipsburg Heritage Days can create nail-biting situations.

Heritage Days Chairman Jim Pollock watched several years ago as a trailer traveled down Front Street facing the wrong direction. No damage was done, but it could have ended in disaster.

“He was a new vendor, and when he first pulled in, he would have been serving toward the sidewalk instead of the street,” Pollock said. “We tried to tell him how to pull out and come back, but he came down wrong and could have taken out several trailers.”

That was a challenge, Pollock said, “so we have to be clear in our direction, especially for new vendors each year when everyone wants to hook up at the same time with over 100 trailers. You have to keep your composure.”

Pontoon Rentals Catching On With Recreational Boaters In Pittsburgh

10462720_10152543533522792_1994000995011631797_nIn a city of stunning views, Jim Malanos might have found the best one yet.

“I go near The Point, drop an anchor, and read a newspaper or a book,” said Malanos, 61, of Brighton Heights. “Sitting there on the water, looking back at the town and the North Shore — it’s beautiful. There’s no traffic, it’s quiet; it’s just very relaxing. Best view in town.”

Malanos is a repeat customer at Boat Pittsburgh LLC, a pontoon rental startup at the James Sharp Landing boat launch in Sharpsburg.

Owner Nicole Moga started the business at the end of May. Though other rentals offer kayaks and canoes, Boat Pittsburgh fills a regional void by offering the larger pontoons, which seat 10.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/allegheny/6373132-74/boat-pittsburgh-moga#ixzz36Vph7jut
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Behind The Scenes Of Spamalot – July 12, 2014! Arts Alive 2014‏

Go Behind the Scenes of Spamalot

Saturday ◊ July 12, 2014 ◊ 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m

Dorothy H. Baker Theatre, Trexler Pavillion

Muhlenberg College

2400 W. Chew Street

Allentown, PA 18104

Pay close attention to that man behind the curtain!Meet Curtis Dretsch, set designer for Monty Python’s Spamalot, on Saturday, July 12, 2014, from 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Join us for the second installment of the Arts Alive! 2014 series, “Behind the Scenes,” as the Lehigh Valley Arts Council once again arranges for arts patrons to take a cultural tour of the arts process.

Spamalot parodies the legend of King Arthur and his band of lunatic knights as they sing and dance their way through a ridiculous divine quest. The show, which won the Tony Award for Best Musical and was seen on Broadway by more than two million people, is providing Dretsch the opportunity to tackle its wacky story and outrageous landscape for the 34th Season of the Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre.

Dretsch, Director of Design and Technical Theatre for Muhlenberg College, has designed the stage sets, costumes, and lighting for more than 100 theatre and dance productions in his career. He is known for creating lavish colors, spectacular designs, and architectural magic that amazes audiences, and he continues to build precise models of each project. In addition to more than three decades designing for Muhlenberg, he has worked in New York City, Philadelphia, Washington D.C, Baltimore, Dallas, Edinburg and London.

Guests will enjoy a tour backstage and get a glimpse into his design process—from concept to scale model to the completed stage set.

Limited attendance. Tickets: $10 for members; $15 for nonmembers.

RESERVE YOUR SPOT TODAY! 

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Food Fridays In Downtown Pottstown, June 27th

Smith Family Plaza – 100 E High Street, Pottstown

Come Downtown and “Eat Like A Local!” 

Join our downtown restaurants, Argento’s, Grumpy’s, Lily’s Grill & The Milkmen Lunch Co. for a taste of their fare, LIVE music by ‘Bees in a Bottle’ and your community for lunch outdoors THIS FRIDAY, June 27th, between 11:00 am – 2:00 pm (music between 11:30 am – 1:30 pm)

We promise nice weather and the perfect scenery to enjoy lunch, friends and neighbors!

p.s. The RESTAURANTS WILL ALSO BE OPEN if you want to visit them inside as well!

ADDITIONAL DATES PLANNED – July 18, August 15 & September 19th

We are looking for additional local bands – if you know someone and they can play any of the above

dates, please let Sheila Dugan know – 610-323-5400 / sheiladugan@comcast.net

Sponsored by Pottstown Downtown Improvement District Authority