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Plan C task force has initial meeting-Members still debating if public can attend

By Gregor McGavin


The first order of business Thursday for a task force formed to forge a compromise between competing visions for Downtown was to open the doors to the public – sort of.

The 11 members of the Plan C task force appointed by Pittsburgh Mayor Tom Murphy met for the first time yesterday at the Oakland offices of Bally Design, the company hired to organize the meetings.

The panel includes Downtown merchants and property owners who were vocal critics of the mayor’s failed Market Place at Fifth & Forbes plan, which they said suffered from a lack of openness and public input.

The task force is permitting the media to attend the meetings, said Frank Garrity, president of Bally.

“I wouldn’t go if (the meeting) was closed,” said Arthur Ziegler, a task force member and executive director of the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation.

What they did not work out was whether to allow members of the public to attend, said Wendy Dodd, task force member and marketing director for the Downtown Pittsburgh Partnership.

That came as a surprise to task force member Patty Maloney, who owns a Forbes Avenue gift shop and heads the Golden Triangle Community Development Corp., one of the groups that opposed Murphy’s plan.

Maloney said she had understood the first meeting would focus on organization and general operation of the panel and would be closed to the public and the media. The task force plans to schedule separate public hearings, Dodd said.

“There seems to be some kind of confusion, with me being part of the confused,” Maloney said. “The decision was the meetings are going to be open to the press … I would assume it would be the same thing with the public.”

More importantly, Dodd said, panelists decided that Bally should conduct interviews with Downtown stakeholders, including property owners and arts organizations, to be sure any plan accurately reflects the will of people living and working in the area.

The group also scheduled meetings every Thursday morning through mid-February. The next meeting also will be at Bally Design, 424 N. Craig St., Oakland. The locations of the other meetings haven’t been determined.

Task force members hope to synthesize previous plans from the Downtown Planning Collaborative, the Golden Triangle CDC and other groups into a single plan that pleases all concerned, Dodd said.

“There’s still quite a bit of work that this group will have to do, and it’s only just begun,” she said.

– Gregor McGavin can be reached at or (412) 320-7844.

This article appeared in the Pittsburgh Tribune Review. © Tribune Review

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