Originally published on March 26, 2019 in The Downtowner newsletter.
Last Thursday, March 21, the we hosted our Annual Downtown Experience Awards Dinner with 500 of our closest friends.
The night started out with a few remarks from DowntownCDC board member Robert Fragasso of Fragasso Financial Advisors. Then, Bob Wolfinger was announced as the recipient of this year’s “Small Business Person of the Year”. Wolfinger owns six restaurants Downtown, but his most recent is Wolfie’s Pub on Forbes Avenue. Guests also heard remarks from Neil Parham of Highmark Healthcare.
The Honorable Jake Wheatley gave a brief, yet entertaining introduction to this year’s “Public Servant of the Year,” Councilman Daniel Lavelle. The DowntownCDC also awarded County Executive Rich Fitzgerald the title of “Public Servant of the Decade” for all he has done for our community. The County Executive was introduced by Senator Wayne Fontana.
Aside from recognizing the award winners, the DowntownCDC also discussed some of our accomplishments from 2018 and what to look forward to as we continue into 2019.
In 2018, the DowntownCDC continued the work of Pittsburgh Fashion Week, held the Northwest Bank Developers Forum, created the marketing channel for the Downtown Activity Network (D.A.N.), shared drinks with you all at Third Tuesday Happy Hour, and organized the Highmark Italian strEAT Festival.
Our 2019 initiatives include the following: create new content for D.A.N., start a program called Local Pittsburgh First that will drive traffic to independent local businesses, hold a Business Member Breakfast, continue creating the Pittsburgh Fashion Alert newsletter, organize a Pittsburgh Fashion Summit, host the Highmark International strEAT Festival, hold a Huntington Bank Lunch and Learn, create a Pittsburgh Fashion Week Designers Website that will place designer creations in boutiques, and continue spearheading the Music City Downtown project with a 2020 Downtown Music Festival.
In regards to Music City Downtown, Jessica Lee spoke about some new venues and the rise of Downtown’s music scene. Guests also heard from Mayor Bill Peduto via video stream thanking the DowntownCDC for all the work they’ve done along with remarks about the great things County Executive Rich Fitzgerald has done for our community.
The night ended with some discussion on the residential development projects happening throughout the downtown area and those who are spearheading those projects. Executive Director of the DowntownCDC John Valentine wrapped up the dinner by thanking our wonderful Board Members for all they do to support us.