Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Parks Conservancy?

The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy is the nonprofit partner of the City of Pittsburgh that is working to improve and maintain Pittsburgh's parks.
 

By signing this petition for parks, am I promising or committing to voting for the parks referendum?

By signing the petition, you are not committing to voting, or voting one way or another; you are only saying that this issue is worthy of consideration by voters at the polls this November.

 

How many signatures do you need?

There must be 12,467 valid signatures (City of Pittsburgh registered voters) on the petition for the Pittsburgh Parks Trust Fund question to be added to the ballot in November.
 

Can any party sign the petition?

Yes, anyone who is a City of Pittsburgh registered voter can sign the petition, regardless of their party affiliation.

 

When I sign the petition, do I put my current address or where I will be living when I will vote in November? (in the event of a move)

You’ll want to list the address at which you’re currently registered to vote. If you change addresses, you can easily update your voter registration online at votespa.com

 

Will my signature be made public?

Your signature will not be posted online, but copies of the petition are available for the public to review in-person at the Allegheny County Board of Elections.

 

What exactly does this ballot question do?

The ballot question will ask voters if they support the creation of a dedicated Pittsburgh Parks Fund to improve Pittsburgh city parks for children and adults, and future generations. Voting “yes” in November will provide additional resources for all Pittsburgh parks in every neighborhood to ensure all Pittsburghers have access to a high-quality park. The proposed ballot language is:
 
“Shall the Pittsburgh Home Rule Charter be amended to establish a dedicated Parks Trust Fund beginning in 2020 to: improve, maintain, create and operate public parks; improve park safety; equitably fund parks in underserved neighborhoods throughout Pittsburgh; be funded with an additional 0.5 mill levy ($50 on each $100,000 of assessed real estate value); secure matching funds and services from a charitable city parks conservancy; and assure citizen participation and full public disclosure of spending?”
 

What if my house is assessed at less than $100,000?

The tax is based on the assessed value of your home. Note that assessed values are often much lower than the value at which you bought your home. If your house is assessed at $50,000, you would pay only half of the proposed tax, meaning you would pay around $25 per year (equivalent to $2.08 per month). Only property owners
(homeowners and commercial properties) would pay this tax, as it does not apply to renters. Additionally, property owners may be exempt or pay reduced taxes through military veteran status or the Taxpayer Relief Act.

 

What if I don’t own a home?

Only property owners will be assessed this fee. It does not apply to renters.

 

Why does this burden have to fall on homeowners?

We understand that additional taxes can seem like a burden. This initiative will help to increase property values, which will directly benefit homeowners and make our communities more attractive to everyone.

 

Will the money be spent on new parks or maintaining current parks?

This money will be spent on existing parks and creating new parks in neighborhoods where residents don’t live within a 10-minute walk of a park. Funds will improve, maintain, create, and operate public parks; improve park safety; and equitably fund parks in underserved neighborhoods throughout Pittsburgh.

 

Who is supporting this initiative?

Mayor Peduto and other local elected officials, as well as local philanthropies and corporate foundations, have voiced support for this initiative. In addition to this, data collected during Phase One of the Parks Listening Tour shows that 95% of people surveyed across 70+ Pittsburgh neighborhoods support more funding for Pittsburgh parks.
 

Is this privatization of our parks?

No, all City parks and park assets remain in the public trust as City-owned public assets.

 

What specific parks or park issues will be helped by this?

The goal of this effort is to improve all 165 Pittsburgh parks. With a passing vote in November, the funds will be used to improve park maintenance, rehabilitation, capital improvements, and recreation programming. Maintenance and recreation programming enhancements will begin in 2020. Planning work for park rehabilitation activities and capital projects will also begin in 2020. City-wide park and neighborhood condition data, together with input from residents across 70+ Pittsburgh neighborhoods during Phase One of the Parks Listening Tour, is being used to determine the allocation of these funds. Communities will have a direct say in what improvements and upgrades will be accomplished in their local parks.
 
Phase Two of the Parks Listening Tour is in motion now. To hear about the Parks Plan, find an event near you at https://www.pittsburghparks.org/parksplan
 

Why should we pay for Schenley and Frick parks and the other large regional parks when other parks are in terrible condition?

This question is the primary reason for this initiative. This initiative will be able to provide more funds for improved maintenance, rehabilitation of amenities, and capital improvements to every park in Pittsburgh and recreation programming enhancements across the city so that smaller neighborhood and community parks receive the same amount of attention as the larger regional parks, like Frick and Schenley. Every park—all 165 of them—will benefit from this.

 

Why do city parks need this money?

Years of underfunding have resulted in Pittsburgh parks having a minimum $400 million capital project backlog, combined with an annual maintenance deficit of $13 million. Every year, the parks fall further behind. The Parks Trust Fund would guarantee dedicated funds for park improvements throughout the entire city. These dollars will directly fund the maintenance, upgrades, and improved park safety in every Pittsburgh park—all 165 of them. It will also fund recreation programming enhancements. This initiative will increase funding for Pittsburgh parks by 15% over current park spending. With additional matching private dollars, the combined referendum and matching private dollars could increase funding for parks by 30% over current park spending.

 

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