Sunday, March 16, 2008

Ravenstahl’s Snowmen in the Hood Project to Lessen Neighborhood Inequity

Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl recently toured the city to gauge the effectiveness of the city’s public works department in clearing winter weather from city streets. What he found on his journey disturbed him more than any untreated throughway.

“After about ten minutes in the car, I was thoroughly bored with assessing the driving conditions,” recalled Ravenstahl. “So I asked [Public Works Director] Guy [Costa] if he wanted to play “I spy snowmen.” That’s the game where the first person to spy a snowman gets to punch the other person three times in a row, hard. Well Guy wouldn’t shut up about the route the salt trucks take, and how they prioritize main arteries, and blah, blah, blah. So I was totally wailing on him good and he only got like one punch on me the whole trip. But as we were traveling I was struck by the difference in snowmen depending on which neighborhood we were in. They were awesome in Shadyside and Squirrel Hill, but totally sucked in South Oakland and the Hill District. So I got to thinking about those kids and how tough it must be living in the hood and stuff.”

From this revelation, Ravenstahl has proposed a new city wide initiative called “Snowmen in the Hood.” The proposal utilizes a $10,000 Sprout Fund grant to teach snow making artistry to inner city youths.

Sure it’s a lot of money, but heck, who can put a price on the effect a quality snowman has on a neighborhood,” explained Ravenstahl.

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