The shutdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic proved the importance of the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership to the city’s business district, its members and trustees told city council members on Tuesday.
“It all fell apart,” said Casey Henderlong, describing how it hurt companies like the Richard Deshantz Restaurant Group, where Henderlong is director of events and catering.
Henderlong was among those who commented on city council as it plans to renew legislation for the Downtown Business Improvement District that created the partnership in 1996.
The Business Improvement District Act allows a tax to be levied on downtown businesses based on their property assessments. This, in turn, funds the partnership and allows it to pay for its programming, which aims to promote the region and attract development to the Golden Triangle.
“We need the (Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership) and the (Business Improvement District) more than ever,” said Richard Beynon, president of Beynon & Co., a downtown real estate company. He also chairs the Business Improvement District.
Legislation allowing the Business Improvement District to exist requires council approval every five years.
No one spoke out against it and board members Bruce Kraus, R. Daniel Lavelle and Erika Strassburger, who attended Tuesday’s public hearing, all praised the work the partnership has done.
“The services are invaluable to the health and well-being of the city,” Kraus said.
Partnership President and CEO Jeremy Waldrup said he appreciates the city’s support.
“We believe that the work we have undertaken is essential to the success of the downtown area.
The partnership will help draw people downtown as more businesses return to normal operations.
“We are up to the challenge,” Waldrup said.
The council will review the legislation and likely approve it next week, Kraus said.
“I am sure you have the full support of the council,” he said.