Pittsburgh selected to host National League of Cities 2016 conference

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The National League of Cities formally announced Friday that Pittsburgh will be the host of its 2016 Congress of Cities and Exposition, which it describes as the “nation’s largest educational and networking event for city officials.”

Mayor Chris Coleman of St. Paul, Minn., the league’s president, said Pittsburgh “has a great story to tell.”

“The city’s rich history and recent urban renewal has transformed the Steel City into a strong economic center with a diverse and educated workforce,” Mr. Coleman said. “Pittsburgh has been a leader in sustainability and technology efforts and can provide great examples of city programs for local leaders attending our conference.”

The league board’s decision was largely a formality; Pittsburgh was the only city submitted to the board for approval after a lengthy evaluation process, a spokeswoman for the league said earlier this month.

The congress will be Nov. 16-19, 2016, and will include educational seminars on challenges facing city leaders, networking workshops, leadership training sessions, speakers and experts on municipal issues.

The annual conference also serves as a venue for the league’s governance meetings and an exposition for vendors looking to land municipal business.

It comes on the 200th anniversary of Pittsburgh’s incorporation.

“I want to thank the NLC for this honor, and I am thrilled for the opportunity to show off Pittsburgh to fellow government officials from around the nation,” Mayor Bill Peduto said. “It’s going to be a great birthday.”

Mr. Peduto said one of his first acts in office was to rejoin the league, a move that bore fruit this month when Pittsburgh won a $230,000 grant for a program seeking to enroll eligible children in health care programs.

Last year’‍s conference in Seattle drew about 3,500 participants and generated about $8 million in economic impact, the league spokeswoman, Janice Pauline said.

“Hosting the National League of Cities brings a tremendous amount of visibility and prestige to the Pittsburgh region in addition to the economic impact the actual conference will garner,” said Craig Davis, president and CEO of VisitPittsburgh.

Robert Zullo: rzullo@post-gazette.com or 412-263-3909. Twitter: @rczullo.

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