PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Pittsburgh is a city rich in legacy. From the steel capital of the world, to the birth of corporations like the H.J. Heinz company, and now to a newer, cleaner city that is a leader in computer science and medicine.
Pittsburgh will celebrate that history with its bicentennial this year. The Steel City turns 200 on March 18th, but Mayor Bill Peduto and the head of the John Heinz History Center announced Wednesday they have planned a year-long celebration.
They hope that the celebration will be cost-efficient.
“With the needs that we have right now in the city and the ability to get out of Act 47 by 2019, the priority of using this as an opportunity to have some big construction project or some capital expense really wasn’t an option,” Peduto said.
So they turned to outside help, and used it as an opportunity to get more people involved.
“What we looked to was our non-profit community, our institutions, our cultural organizations and our neighborhoods and tried to think of a way that we could get 200 to 300 organizations each to be a little part to celebrate an entire year,” Peduto said.
There will be a few marquis events:
March 18th – Incorporation Day, the day Pittsburgh was legally established as a city.
July 8th – A bicentennial bash will be held at the John Heinz History Center.
July 9th – An anniversary celebration will be held at the Pittsburgh City-County Building. Descendants of former mayors will be honored, and a bicentennial parade will be held along Liberty Avenue, ending at Point State Park.
December 31st – The culmination of the bicentennial will take place on First Night Pittsburgh.
Mayor Peduto is hoping everyone will take part, even if they don’t normally go downtown.
“This will be the year to break those excuses and celebrate the entire city,” Peduto said, “and people will cross that bridge and cross that river in order to see all the amazing things.”
John Schalcosky, Founder of the Odd, Mysterious and Fascinating History of Pittsburgh, joined the KDKA Morning News to clarify some confusion some may have with the bicentennial.
He says, “Some people will think we celebrated our 250th . . . anniversary a few years ago, now that was actually to celebrate the founding of Fort Pitt, not the City of Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh did not become a city till March 18th, 1816.”
Schalcosky adds that Pittsburgh is an older town but, “as a city we are just turning 200 this year and before that we were a borough, before that a township, before that just an area code.”