Should it come as any surprise that parking was among the few sour notes expressed in a survey of downtown retailers, building owners and employees about the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership's recent efforts to improve the area?
Of the 1,063 who responded, more than 40 percent said parking has gotten worse over the past three years. The biggest culprit: the cost of parking during the day. The problem also has been tagged by more than half of the respondents as a priority for the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership in the coming year.
Meanwhile, 63 percent of the retailers, 62 percent of the property owners and 57 percent of downtown employees said the downtown-based business association is doing either a good or excellent job.
And then there's the city's cleanliness. Roughly half of the respondents rated downtown's cleanliness as good or excellent. All told, 82 percent of the property owners, 79 percent of the retailers and 73 percent of the employees said the area is cleaner or significantly cleaner since the organization launched its Downtown Ambassadors cleaning program last spring.
'Anything but rosy'
That's how the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership described the potential consequences for downtown Pittsburgh if the so-called Plan B for new baseball and football stadiums wasn't approved.
Just before a last-ditch negotiating session between sports-team officials and local government leaders and the final vote that did, in fact, approve a plan for new stadiums, the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership offered its own board endorsement.
"We believe that downtown Pittsburgh, the center of our region, truly is at a crossroads," wrote PDP board Chairman George Warner. "Unless we take a proactive approach to investing in our future now, the future may turn out to be anything but rosy, not only for downtown, but for the region as a whole. We applaud the efforts of Mayor Murphy and County Commissioners Cranmer and Dawida for showing foresight and leadership to develop Plan B."
As it stands, then, rosy it is.
That's one way to keep business from leaving Pittsburgh
When the CEO Venture Fund III agreed to invest $2 million in Durham, N.C.-based Demeter BioTechnologies Ltd. (OTC: BBLDBOT), the fund's principals offered one minor caveat: The company would have to move its headquarters and primary operations to Pittsburgh.
This is among the first reversals of a trend that seems to continually drain the region of many promising upstarts. And it's also being viewed by many in the high-tech community as another shot in the arm for Pittsburgh's fledgling bio-tech community.
"This funding from CEO Fund culminates many months of effort to insure the financial stability of the company and to provide the resources to accelerate the company's product development efforts," says Richard Ekstrom, president of Demeter BioTechnologies. "We are very encouraged about our progress in developing a possible treatment for prostrate cancer. We believe we can now achieve our goal to begin clinical trials for our first application during the first half of 1999.
And, he adds, "Pittsburgh is a very livable city."
A $2 million incentive no-doubt makes it even more livable. But only time will tell.
When you can't see your desk through the mess...
If you had to sift through piles of paper on your desk just to find this publication, you likely are the perfect candidate for organizational guru Sylvia Jessy's new book, "Organized Chaos: The Key You Need to Declutter, Organize & Simplify Your Life."
The book, named after her Pittsburgh-based company, no-doubt will aptly characterize your organizational style-or lack thereof, and it offers a host of solutions regardless of your problem. But as Jessy points out in her self-published book, it's never an overnight process.
"Being organized is not something that takes a long time to achieve," she says. "Decluttering the piles or rooms we've junked up, however, may take a lot longer. But remember they didn't get junked-up overnight."
The question she says you should ask yourself when assessing your level of organization is, "When you look at your environment, do you see opportunity or obstacles? The difference between these two is that opportunities can allow us to be passionate about doing something while moving us closer to our goals. Obstacles, on the other hand, are standing in the way of achieving our goals. Obstacles can be opportunities run amok."
To order your copy, call (412) 362-0793 or send e-mail to OrganizedChaos@Juno.com.