Riverlife Wants To 'Artistically Reimagine' Allegheny Trails

Oct 1, 2019

On today's program: Riverlife's new CEO says development is critical to riverfront protection; how federal refugee caps are affecting Pennsylvania's immigrants; why Jewish New Year celebrations are being celebrated at a Christian sanctuary; Sen. Bob Casey says Dems can't put progressive ideas ahead of actually winning the election; and the nation's first openly transgender swimmer on what it took to compete in the NCAA.

Balancing riverfront development with community need
(00:00 — 12:24) 

Riverlife and the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust have received a $330,000 Regional Asset District grant to create “Artwalk on the Allegheny River,” incorporating public art to liven up the trails between Point State Park and the Strip District.

“As we’ve created these amenities, these riverfront trails and moments, we need to activate them with programming to draw people to the riverfront," new president and CEO Matthew Galluzzo says. "This is our gesture to ensure we are connecting people to place.”

Riverlife was created 20 years ago by stakeholders in municipal, nonprofit and urban leadership positions. Since then, development has happened “at a fever pitch” with billions of dollars of developments happening along the riverfronts, Galluzzo says.

“Our challenge, our job, is to keep pace with that development and really ensure that we can partner with developers, that we can provide incentives to developers, and when we have to, cajole developers to comport with those [vision] plans,” Galluzzo says.

He says there's also a need to keep checking with residents to make sure that “the things we are advocating for and investing in are consistent with the values of our communities.” 

As Trump slashes refugee arrivals, a look at who's been resettling in PA 
(13:09 — 17:45) 

Last week, the Trump administration announced it was slashing refugee arrivals again, lowering the national cap from 30,000 people this year to 18,000 for the fiscal year beginning Tuesday. The White House also issued a new executive order, which calls for resettlement only in states and municipalities that explicitly consent to receive refugees.

These changes are a continuation of policies launched in the early days of Trump’s presidency, which began with a temporary ban on all refugees, and which have fundamentally changed how the U.S. takes in people displaced by war or persecution.

But as WHYY's Laura Benshoff reports, how many people can come is one major change; who is actually coming is another.

Tree Of Life marks High Holidays at Calvary Episcopal 
(17:49 — 21:44) 

Tree of Life—Or L’Simcha—is a conservative Jewish congregation, and Calvary Episcopal Church is mainline Protestant. Both Pittsburgh congregations trace their origins to the mid-19th century, and both have long inhabited houses of worship accented by stained glass on tree-lined Shady Avenue, albeit a mile apart. Starting this week, they are sharing much more.

90.5 WESA's Bill O'Driscoll reports that Calvary is hosting Tree of Life’s High Holidays services this year—the congregation's first since the Tree of Life’s synagogue was the site of the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in U.S. history.

Casey on impeachment, gun control and the 2020 election 
(21:47 — 29:27) 

Less than 24 hours after Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the House impeachment inquiry against President Trump, Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey declared his support.

90.5 WESA's Lucy Perkins spoke to the Democrat, and asked him what he thought would happen in the Senate if the House impeaches the President. While some Senate Republicans have been critical of the investigation and whistleblower report, Casey said he was heartened by their overall initial response. A note for sensitive listeners, this interview contains strong language.

NCAA's first openly transgender athlete shares history with Persad
(29:29 — 39:00) 

Schuyler Bailar grew up in Virginia and was recruited to swim on Harvard’s women’s team in 2013, but after coming out as transgender, he instead was invited to swim for the men’s team. As the first openly transgender NCAA Division 1 athlete, he's since been involved in writing inclusion guides for both LGBTQ and Asian-American athletes and now travels around the country to talk to others about his life and experiences.

For The Confluence, 90.5 WESA’s Katie Blackley talks to Bailar after his keynote address for the TransPride Professional Conference in Pittsburgh.

90.5 WESA's Kristofer Stubbs contributed to this program.

The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s daily news program. Tune in weekdays at 9 a.m. to hear newsmakers and innovators take an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region. Find more episodes of The Confluence here or wherever you get your podcasts.