Pittsburgh's mayoral inauguration will move indoors on Monday due to cold weather

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Cold weather is forcing Mayor-elect Bill Peduto to move his inauguration indoors Monday, but at least he won't face a blizzard right out of the gate like new New York Mayor Bill de Blasio did this week.

Mr. Peduto had planned to take the oath of office on the steps of the City-County Building at 1 p.m. But given the frigid forecast -- the 1 p.m. temperature could be 5 degrees -- he and his transition team decided Friday to move the ceremony several blocks away to Heinz Hall for safety reasons.

The hall will be able to accommodate all of the 2,500 or so people previously given tickets to the swearing-in, Kevin Acklin, Mr. Peduto's transition chairman and future chief of staff, said.

However, the move from the openness of Grant Street -- where the transition team had rented a parking lot to accommodate an overflow crowd -- means that very few members of the general public now will get to see the city's 60th mayor take the oath. At Heinz Hall, "only a very limited number of seats will be available" to people without tickets, Mr. Peduto's office said in a statement.

Mr. Peduto, who courted a wide range of voters with promises of accountability and transparency, had wanted a large, open debut for his administration. Mr. Acklin said the transition team "really had no choice" about moving the ceremony and is trying to arrange coverage by the city cable channel.

"We're doing everything we can to make sure the public has a chance to see," he said.

Seating for the swearing-in will begin at noon, and, musical performances that were planned for the portico of the City-County Building now will be held at the hall, home of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, which operates the hall, said the venue is available because a run of "Ghost -- The Musical" ends Sunday.

Other inaugural activities Monday will be unaffected by the weather.

After the swearing in, the public is invited to join Mr. Peduto and his cabinet for a reception -- even pose for photos with the group -- at the Wintergarden at PPG Place. Free ice skating and hot chocolate will be available until 5:30 p.m.

An invitation-only gala at the Heinz History Center begins at 7 p.m.

Donations of canned goods, to benefit Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, will be accepted at all of Mr. Peduto's events.

City council's swearing-in ceremony and reorganization meeting will be held at 10 a.m. in the City-County Building.

Inclement weather has disrupted at least a handful of inauguration ceremonies in the Northeast in recent days. Mr. de Blasio was inaugurated as scheduled Wednesday, but within 24 hours, he was managing the city's response to a blizzard.

In addition to cold weather, Pittsburgh will see snow showers and blowing snow, with a couple of inches of possible accumulation on Monday. Tuesday will bring sub-zero weather but no snow, National Weather Service meteorologist Brad Rehak said.

Joe Smydo: jsmydo@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1548. First Published January 3, 2014 2:25 PM

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