Public Safety and the Vibrant Uptown Project

Vibtant Uptown Construction

Last Monday, after the police chief community forum, Commissioner Ranney informed me of a conversation she had with an uptown business owner in which she was asked whether she was aware that a person had fallen on an uptown sidewalk who then later died. Commissioner Ranney had not been aware, nor was I.

I was not aware, but it didn’t surprise me. The picture above was taken uptown just a few days ago – that is not a stock image. It’s one of the reasons I have sent several emails over the course of several months to our manager, solicitor, commission, and other staff members about my concerns with the vibrant uptown project. I voiced those same concerns at many meetings we’ve had since the project started. To date, those concerns have seemingly been ignored, which is why you are reading about it here.

Following that conversation with Commissioner Ranney, I sent an email to the municipal manager, municipal solicitor, and the rest of the commission asking for more information about the person who fell and trying to understand why that information had been kept from the commission. To date, those questions have not been answered. Not by the manager, the solicitor, or other members of the commission whom might have known about this incident and kept it secret.

At the last Commission meeting, it was announced the Pumpkin Patch Parade would continue as regularly scheduled. For those unfamiliar with the route of that parade – it normally starts at the cemetery and continues south on Washington through uptown ending at Mellon Middle School.

On Wednesday, I took some photos of Washington Road where hundreds (and possibly thousands) of our family members would be standing during a parade. They’re included the link below:;22627329-D4BF-4702-BD23-64BF49FB64B5

Since then, I have pleaded with the other commissioners and staff to move the parade away from uptown, or to hold “trunk or treating” in an alternate location; a suggestion our State Representative also made, and smartly so, in my opinion.

I’ve gone to every Pumpkin Patch Parade we’ve held since moving to Mt Lebanon more than 10 years ago. For several of the last events, I was the person dressed up as McGruff the Crime Dogg giving out high-fives throughout the parade route. It’s an important and fun event for our families and my kids absolutely love it.

I am not an alarmist. I think those who know me would consider me a reasonable person who searches for practical solutions to the issues we face. No one wants to be the person to cancel such a fun event for the community, but that’s what responsible people do – when they see something amiss they call attention to it. To do otherwise, or to conceal information from elected officials charged with making important decisions about the safety of our community is irresponsible and lacks sound judgement.

So much goes into this parade, not only from the municipal side of things, but also from the many organizations, nonprofits, and community groups that are making plans and spending money to be in this parade. Waiting until the last minute to cancel this event makes it nearly impossible to execute an alternative, and it might even create a situation where those community groups can’t get refunds on expensive purchases they made for the event, including candy, costumes, floats, and other parade items.

So, after seeing those images linked above, I have two questions:

  1. Can you get your kids to stand absolutely still during a parade and not play near elevation changes of several feet with nothing in their way but a single piece of yellow caution tape?
  2. While we do not know the root cause of that person’s death or whether it was even related to the fall uptown, why would the manager and other commission members refuse to answer questions about what they knew and when they knew it?

If you’d like to know more about the questions I’m asking which are currently being withheld – text me at 412-444-8675.

In the meantime, call your local commissioner and let them know what you think. You can find their contact information on the official Mt Lebanon website under the Meet Your Commissioners heading.

Perhaps you will get answers to the questions above or others that you might have related to the Vibrant Uptown project and the parade.

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