Report on city-county merger due out today The tight-lipped 13-member Advisory Committee to Enhance Efficiency and Effectiveness of County and City Government has reviewed city and county functions, studied regions that have merged, and spent months trying to build consensus and finalize language in a report.The place where a merger could and should happen next is PARKS.
City, county and university officials all refused to talk about the findings yesterday.
But better than a merger, we should move to create a new Park District that is not either the city nor the county nor the schools nor even the universities. Nor should the Park District be a 'tight-lipped' nonprofit without accountability that has Elsie Hillman (or some other nonprofit weenies) pulling the wires.
The new Pittsburgh Park District should be a public entity with elected trustees, a citizens' congress, a new model of cooperation as its own entity, working under the light of sunshine laws.
The Pittsburgh Park District is NOT a quick fix. But it is a logical next step in the overall blueprint.
People are willing to work together when it comes to places where we play together. We'll do great things for the sake of our kids.
We cherish the parks and crave real cooperation with an entity that isn't with a headquarters on Grant Street.
Full consolidation of city and county government could kill the region. Meanwhile, the new Pittsburgh, regional, Park District could be a major support system to the citizens and provide a base of experiences to work from as we merge government -- or not.