Monday, November 19, 2007

Pittsburgh 250 Newsletter, November, 2007

Pittsburgh 250 newsletter - November
From: Jim Rohr (

We officially launched Pittsburgh 250 last week at the Allegheny Conference on Community Development’s Annual Meeting. This celebration of the naming of the region is an opportunity to encourage people inside and outside our region to imagine a bright future here. Over the next 14 months, we will follow in the footsteps of George Washington and countless others who travelled to our region to make history, pioneering advancements in industry, education, technology, medicine, the environment and the arts. Together, we celebrate our region’s world changing heritage as we prepare for the next 250 years and beyond.

With this eNewsletter, we want to keep you informed of the many exciting programs, events and initiatives that comprise the Pittsburgh 250 celebration. If you’ve been receiving the newsletter regularly, you know that I enjoy providing facts about the region that make us proud to be from southwestern Pennsylvania. I encourage you to share this information with others.

James E. Rohr, Pittsburgh 250th Anniversary Commission

!Imagine That! A Fact About Our Region For more than a century, Pittsburgh has been one of the nation’s top corporate centers. We remain so. More than 100 companies with global revenues of a billion-dollars-or-more maintain headquarter operations in the Pittsburgh region, make southwestern Pennsylvania a growing center for headquarters, business services (legal, accounting, HR) and back office support. Headquarters-related employment is growing here at a rate far higher than the national average. Plans Announced for Region’s 250th Anniversary Celebration honors regions past, present and future.

Last week during the Allegheny Conference Annual Meeting, community leaders unveiled plans for the year-long celebration commemorating the 250th anniversary of the naming of the region, a series of events and initiatives to honor Pittsburgh’s past, and position the area for a promising future. Calling on residents to participate in an array of cultural and outdoor events, leaders say the anniversary is an opportunity to showcase how the 14-county area helped shape the nation. The goals are to spur economic development, boost travel and tourism, and change the way locals see the region. The Pittsburgh 250 celebration encompasses three strategic projects, three grand opening events, and three grass roots initiatives, all under the theme “Pittsburgh 250: Imagine What You Can Do Here.” Already underway is the $35 million renovation spearheaded by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Riverlife Task Force of Point State Park, a 36-acre National Historic landmark at the confluence of Pittsburgh’s three rivers.

Much of the celebration will be built around the region’s role in American history; starting at its early days as a key colonial outpost to its industrial prowess during the early 20th century, and on to Pittsburgh’s current status as one of the most livable places in the United States. The anniversary celebration will highlight two historic trails, the Forbes Trail connecting Pittsburgh to Philadelphia and the Great Allegheny Passage, linking the region to Washington, DC. Forged by Forbes and Washington during the French and Indian War, the Forbes Trail – the 450-mile route they followed from Philadelphia west – will be memorialized in a new heritage tourism driving guide. It will also serve as the route for an elite six-day cycling race sponsored by American Eagle Outfitters Inc. and presented by Highmark Healthy High 5. Beginning on June 24th in Philadelphia and ending on June 29th in Pittsburgh, the Tour of Pennsylvania will wind through some of western Pennsylvania’s oldest towns, including Carlisle, Bedford, and Ligonier.

The 250th anniversary of the naming of the region will also salute local communities and the people that contribute to our region’s heritage. Among three grass roots initiatives, a community effort spearheaded by the non-profit Sprout Fund will allot $1million to fund neighborhood projects and events under the theme of “Pride and Progress.” More than 500 groups have sought funding. Grants will be announced in December.
James E. Rohr, Chairman of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development and Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, PNC Financial Services Group welcomes the Allegheny Conference on Community Development Board, Regional Investors Council ,guests and staff to the Annual meeting.
Michele Fabrizi, President and Chief Executive Officer, MARC USA.

Thanks to Pittsburgh Civic Light Orchestra, Col. George Washington and General John Forbes helped launch the Pittsburgh 250 Celebration. Reunions and Homecoming News Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History has opened registration for Re-Union: World’s Largest Wedding Vow Renewal Ceremony. Being held on Sunday, February 10, 2008, Re-Union will attempt to set the Guinness World Record for simultaneous renewal of wedding vows and is available only to the first 700 couples to register. The cost is $30 per couple. To register, visit:

Festivity filled the air at the Benedum Center in late October as 50 former dancers from Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre (PBT) took their own curtain call after the final performance of Don Quixote. Celebrating 38 years of PBT history, the Benedum audience thrilled as current Artistic Director, Terrence Orr introduced former directors Patricia Wilde, Patrick Frantz, and PBT founding director Nicholas Petrov. Following the performance, more than 250 invited guests gathered for a reunion, reception and to renew friendships. Pittsburgh Ballet Theater’s reunion was so successful that plans are now underway for the 40th anniversary in 2009. The Reunions and Homecoming Committee is co-chaired by Esther Bush and Jeff Letwin. To date, dozens of organizations have scheduled meetings, homecomings and reunions that are expected to bring at last 50,000 visitors to our region next year.

Tour of PA Forms Local Organizing Committees Mayor Luke Ravenstahl greeted more than 60 volunteers from across the region who met last week to form two Local Organizing Committees (LOCs) that will promote and support the American Eagle Outfitters Tour of Pennsylvania presented by Highmark Healthy High 5. Jim Roddey was introduced as co-chair of the Pittsburgh LOCs. Six LOCs are being formed across the state for the event, which is expected to attract more than 500,000 spectators at the race and the Highmark Healthy High 5® Festivals over six days (June 24-29).

Pittsburgh 250 Celebrates with Light Up Night Hundreds of people visited the Pittsburgh 250 booth during Light Up Night on November 16 to pose for photographs and learn about the year-long celebration. A special thanks to Carol Jacobelli, Bridget Laero, James Laero, Nathan Laero, Susan Meneghini, Patricia Quolke, Nova Rubio, Sarah Shepard, Amy Tweten, Brandon West, Judy West, Paulette Zanotti who helped to make Light Up Night a great success. Visit the photo gallery the week of November 26 at by clicking on “250 News.”

The Dinosaurs Are Back! The Carnegie Museums are opening the doors to what is quite simply the best dinosaur exhibit anywhere, Dinosaurs in Their Time. The completely renovated and expanded dinosaur hall was recently featured on ABC World News Tonight and is expected to draw visitors to our region from around the world throughout next year and well into the future. More than 20,000 Carnegie Museum members attended the four-day preview. Congratulations to everyone at the Carnegie for bringing a major new attraction to our region.

Our Region is Boss When It Comes to Robots Carnegie Mellon University is celebrating a $2 million dollar win. Boss, the latest machine to roll out of the Robotics Institute, won the DARPA Urban Challenge earlier this month, successfully navigating California streets and traffic faster than any other robot, and more safely, too. Boss Rules! And so does the Pittsburgh region when it comes to autonomous machines. Stay Posted •

To stay posted on Pittsburgh 250 news, visit • To submit your community event, click on 250 Celebration. Select Submit Calendar Event; complete form and click submit event. • For the most up-to-day information on Pittsburgh 250 events, visit the online calendar of events at:

Mark Your Calendar French and Indian War Re-enactors will join the Celebrate The Seasons Holiday Parade on Saturday, November 24, 2007, from 9:00 – 11:00 AM. Pittsburgh 250 is more than a birthday party. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to encourage people inside and outside our region to imagine a bright future here. The strategic plan is grounded in an important milestone in American history, the 1758 Forbes Campaign that led to the naming of Pittsburgh, and the founding of Bedford, Ligonier and other communities west of Carlisle. 412 392-2401

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