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									East Liberty Community Planning Meeting
Solutions
November 9, 2007

John Rhoads – Self-introduction
William Johnson – Business Banker for PNC
Emily Nordquist – Community Outreach Coordinator for ELDI
Roger Gusick – Penn Hollows
Fred Logan – Kelly Strayhorn Theatre
Katie Judd – Pitt Student, future East Liberty business owner
Mindy Mandura – Mercy Behavioral Health
Andre Fleming – East Liberty Cuts
Amy Enrico – ELDI
David Serbin – ELDI
Maelene Myers – ELDI
Bob New – Director, Kelly Strayhorn Theatre
Andrew

Think about creative solutions to address each discussion topics:

   1. Environment

   Parking

   -   New meters could create more street parking since the road is wide enough on the
       corridor (Andre)
   -   There should also be free parking in a designated area (Andre)
   -   There should be free parking for business owners (Andre)
   -   More parking should be created neighborhood-wide (John)
   -   A parking garage could be an option
   -   Clearer and stronger enforcement of the meters (Emily)
   -   Business owners could pay for the meters all day on a Saturday to encourage
       shoppers to come out, similar to what Shadyside Chamber of Commerce has done
       (Will)
   -   Free valet parking could be provided for shoppers where shoppers could be
       brought directly to their cars, similar to Walnut Street Valet Services in Shadyside
       (Will)
   -   There should be increased signage of the two parking lots that we already have as
       well as increased lighting along the way to these parking lots. It is hard to create
       new parking lots because they are very expensive (David)
   -   “Pedestrian cabs” could be an option, where youth would deliver groceries to
       shoppers’ homes or cars. Whole Foods has expressed interest and support for this
       idea. The business wouldn’t take too much investment because the resources
       would simply be bikes and hand held radios. Uniform “pedi-cabs” could radio in
       unsafe activity since there would be more eyes watching out for neighborhood
       crime (David)
-   We could connect pedi-cabs with Bike Pittsburgh (Amy)
-   We could also formalize a valet parking system, particularly in the evening hours
    in East Liberty. We should invite Mark Minnerly to these meetings as a business
    investor since the business might need a little capital to start (Bob)
-   There are amazing opportunities for burgeoning entrepreneurs to take advantage
    of services lacking in the community (Amy)

Night life

-   More festivals and night time activities that go into the evenings would bring out
    more crowds (Emily)
-   There is definitely a need for a late night venue/“hang out place” (Katie)
-   Another point of discussion concerning nightlight revolves around how Arts and
    Culture can contribute (Fred)
-   There needs to be a formal or informal “hook-up” between the businesses that
    would benefit from a performance at the Kelly Strayhorn and the Kelly Strayhorn
    staff. Arts and culture programs certainly provide great economic benefits to
    businesses, such as appeal to the theatre crowd to eat dinner before a performance
    or get coffee afterwards (Fred)
-   There needs to be more coordination between arts venues and restaurants (John)
-   Businesses that could benefit from this coordination should be more active in the
    planning process (Fred)
-   The PAT bus system used to have a “UV loop” that ran from Southside/Oakland
    over to East Liberty. This means of alternate transportation should be brought
    back (Amy)
-   We could host music performances on the street during the holidays where
    community organizers could plan grassroot “music, business, culture” events in
    abandoned buildings without waiting for the venues (Amy)
-   Groups can jump in during the two weekends before Christmas (December 12-23)
    and use the Kelly Strayhorn Theatre as a venue for performances (Bob)

Littering

-   Individuals need to take care of their own space (Andre)
-   There needs to be an attitude change with the youth. We could have “Youth litter
    champions” where youth could be recognized for helping keep the neighborhood
    clean. This would cause a change in culture and increase neighborhood spirit
    (David)
-   Another idea would be to have a “Clean up campaign” involving stores and local
    groups in the area (Maelene)
-   Trash awareness programs could be implemented (Maelene)
-   Rewards/awards for store owners that show that they care about maintaining clean
    storefronts is another possibility (David)
-   Community organizers could connect with Peabody High School and talk to the
    Principal about ways to raise trash awareness with the youth (Amy)
-   The ELDI could send out a survey that directly asks people what their concerns
    are in a less aggressive/confrontational way (Fred)
-   The community could also lean on the NID, whose top concern is business district
    cleanliness (Bob)
-   The NID and the Business Co-op can merge and address these concerns (Amy)
-   Individual business storefronts should also be taken care of by individuals (Emily)
-   Small businesses need to work together and not lean on an outside force to handle
    cleanliness (Amy)
-   If the media is focused on specific areas we could handle clean-up strategically by
    forcing it upon people as a “shame campaign” (Fred)

Vacancy

-   Businesses and residents could adopt vacant buildings

Let’s not rush this process but spend more time discussing solutions at another
meeting (Fred)

Difficult to schedule more meetings with the holiday season approaching (Emily)

This discussion will go on as long as it needs to so that ideas can be fleshed out.
We’ll figure out what the next steps will be (Maelene)

(ELDI) encourages participants to start a dialogue through email and utilize online
resources as well (Emily)

2. Coordination and Communication

-   Since a disconnect exists between arts/culture leaders and the community we
    should invite arts and culture leaders to these meetings. We should press the
    importance of these meetings the potential for us to work together to think of
    ways we could all benefit (Fred)
-   The Kelly Strayhorn Theatre has been longing to connect with businesses in the
    community. A tasteful “Business of the week” display in the lobby of the theatre
    would be one way to help market the businesses.
-   An East Liberty business fair in the lobby would also be a possibility. The theatre
    could be filled with tables for each business. The Kelly Strayhorn wants to get the
    word out to the business community about what they can do for businesses. The
    Kelly Strayhorn is a particularly prime location since it is a public place directly
    on the square and has recently applied for a beer and liquor license (Bob)
-   People will stop and stare at renderings of new spaces. Everyone is interested in
    the development, wondering what the neighborhood will look like in the future?
    i.e. People wonder what the pedestrian bridge is going to look like or what Bakery
    Square will look like (David)
-   We’ll need someone to answer questions at these events and we’ll also need
    people to attend the business fair itself. We have the space we just need to find a
    way to bring the people. (Bob)
-   Wherever people are congregating and passing through would be a good place for
    a stand alone display. Foam presentation boards would need to be refreshed and
    kept up to date (David)
-   ELDI could encourage businesses to sponsor action steps in the community rather
    than ask the businesses to do them themselves i.e. plant a tree or sponsor someone
    to plant a tree on their behalf (Emily)
-   Another way we could inform people is through kiosks (David)
-   We can also use vacant storefronts for information displays (Andrew)
-   We need to market East Liberty and show people that we have a plan and we have
    solutions. If a few businesses wanted to jump in together to market East Liberty
    they could promote the neighborhood itself. This would change the perception
    that nothing is happening (Katie)
-   Should this be an organic process or come out of an organized entity like ELDI?
    (John)
-   If no one is in charge it is not organically going to happen (Katie)
-   The ELDI needs other partners. We can provide sponsorships but we just can’t do
    it all. This marketing idea should be done out of house (Maelene)
-   We currently have limited publications. We need something small where
    members of the neighborhood could contribute like a publication that is produced
    by members of the neighborhood and then distributed by them (Emily)
-   Bloomfield/Garfield Bulletin is not always distributed or advertised very well
    Many people were confused about the Bulletin and do not receive it. Those who
    do agreed that it is an effective publication (David)
-   Blogs are a good source for information however we have to keep in mind that
    online sources are not the best sources for everyone (Emily)
-   We can put together a much better, friendlier newspaper and have drop off places
    for easier distribution. We need to enhance the publications we already have
    rather than create new ones. We should help create a mailing list as well
    (Maelene)
-   www.eastlibertypost.com is a community website that is set up in a blog format
    and regularly updated. Each time someone makes a contribution they increase
    their eligibility to win an ipod (David)
-   We need larger posters, or a banner across the road getting the word out about
    eastlibertypost.com. Something that would say “Your source for East Liberty
    news” (Amy)
-   People need an “RSS feed.” Advertising is exactly what our blog needs (Amy)
-   People can utilize the website as an East Liberty Business Directory to post needs,
    etc. (Emily)
-   Another idea would be to have a town meeting event where people can go and get
    a lot of information all at once (David)
-   The Kelly Strayhorn Theater’s “Community Forum Series,” would give the
    community a free space to use under specific conditions for the common good.
    No admission is charged, no money exchanged and nothing is sold i.e. mayoral
       debate. They are currently looking for models that would use the series so that
       they can secure funding i.e. they are looking for examples where people have a
       common vision to convene. So far it’s been utilized 5 times. Again, the Kelly
       Strayhorn is a centrally located place for people to convene (Bob)

   Let’s be more specific. It’s a tedious process but we need to narrow down ideas.
   (Amy)

   Specific categories:

   Environment

   1. Cleanliness Campaign – engage the new NID, high schools, businesses
   2. Vacancy – organize cultural events, create promotional billboards, create
      informational drop off sites
   3. Parking – develop a neighborhood valet service, start a pedi-cycle business, create
      signage, create free meters, bring back a reliance on other forms of transportation

   Communication

   1. Disconnect between businesses/arts/community – organize neighborhood mixers
      where businesses would promote the event at the Kelly Strayhorn, donate to the
      Kelly Strayhorn and Fred would provide the artists for the event, build upon the
      community forum series
   2. Publications – advertise the blog, connect with Bulletin newspaper staff to find a
      way to pull more funds into the publication, develop a general mailing list, engage
      the business association’s primary focus on branding, work on the East Liberty
      Business Publication, initiate a column about East Liberty in a major newspaper,
      engage PopCity which has single handedly changed a lot of communities
   3. Neighborhood Perception – start a press release campaign that consistently
      delivers news to the media when positive things are happening, hire a press
      release coordinator (who should house this person? Business Association or
      Chamber?)

Things to add:

   -   We haven’t talked about how the churches can be involved in this process. They
       could have a lot of positive things to add to youth activities and volunteer days
       (Katie)
   -   We could start a creative entrepreneur campaign – “Creative entrepreneurs
       wanted!” (Amy)
   -   We could also organize a Business Plan Competition with awards for the best
       business plans and how they would move the community forward. Everyone
       could receive funding to encourage people to participate. The competition would
       target East Liberty and pull an entrepreneurial spirit out into the open. Even
       existing businesses that want to augment their business could participate. (David)
   -   We need to address the issue that it’s becoming too expensive to start a business
       in East Liberty (Amy)
   -   Even though the rent will go up the traffic will go up too. The market will react.
       Companies that have good businesses will be getting more for the rent and there
       will be a bigger return (David)
   -   We also need more space (Amy)

Our next meeting will be on Monday, November 19, 2007 at 8:00 am at ELDI.

								
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