Study: Locals more down on region than outsiders
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A new survey of Pittsburgh-area residents and nonresidents once again shows that locals are more pessimistic than outsiders on the subject of the region's future -- a major challenge to the $10 million marketing effort planned for the city's 250th anniversary in 2008.
Telephone research conducted in May by Downtown-based Corcom Inc. found only 44 percent of local residents agreeing with the sentiment that the region "is moving in the right direction," while 61 percent of those surveyed outside felt that way.
The $15,000 survey, paid for by Allegheny Conference on Community Development, is similar to one the nonprofit economic development group paid for in 2002, except larger in scope. The survey in 2002 involved 70 people; the one conducted last month involved 942, all contacted by telephone.
Generally, locals were a little more critical than out-of-towners, said conference spokeswoman Pam Golden. Pittsburghers were down on local transportation and the social scene, while people outside the area did not think either was that bad. Pittsburghers do see their city as being safe and well educated, however.
The approach of Pittsburgh's 250th anniversary in 2008 is yet another chance for the conference to communicate a different image of the region to residents, visitors, workers and business "decision makers." The multiyear effort -- costing an estimated $10 million -- will culminate in a celebration the second week of October in 2008.
Gov. Ed Rendell was in Pittsburgh yesterday to offer state support to the project, presenting a $250,000 check to the conference in a ceremony at Point State Park.
The governor also hinted that more state money may be on the way. He said the check is "just part of what we are going to do to make this a sensational celebration.''
The money will be used for the "development and planning" of the 250th celebration, including paying for a 31/2-minute promotional video the conference handed out yesterday.
The video -- called "Pittsburgh. Wow!" -- cost $35,000-$40,000 to produce, according to the conference's Bill Flanagan, and features sweeping views of the city skyline, rural farmland and popular spots around town. The video is being used to galvanize interest in a Reunion 2008 campaign and encourage expatriates to return home for the 250th celebration.
The state money also will help pay for a "innovators" video involving Senator John Heinz Pittsburgh Regional History Center President Andy Masich -- a video designed to explain the Pittsburgh 250 project to people within the region, Mr. Flanagan said.
The conference, the same public policy group that gained fame by beating back floods and cleaning Pittsburgh's skies following World War II, has spent $275,000 on its own money so far on the 250th anniversary project, covering a feasibility study, planning, administrative overhead and staff.
First Published June 23, 2006 12:00 am