Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

New Latrobe Manager Putting His Past to Work

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

New Latrobe Manager Putting His Past to Work

Article excerpt

When Alex Graziani was growing up in New Castle, he delivered papers for the New Castle News.

"When I was a kid, I spent a lot of time carrying the news of Western Pennsylvania," he said.

And the news of Western Pennsylvania in the 1980s was not good. Mr. Graziani dropped off papers bearing headlines about depressed former steel towns and the loss of manufacturing throughout the region. Since then, he said, he knew he wanted to help communities near his hometown thrive.

He can continue that mission in his new job as manager of the City of Latrobe.

For the past decade, Mr. Graziani kept to that goal, working for the Smart Growth Partnership of Westmoreland County, a nonprofit that helps communities develop sustainably.

Mr. Graziani, of Greensburg, worked with several communities on streetscaping and sustainable development programs to make sure green space and natural features of the land complement development in the booming county, particularly in areas like Murrysville, Greensburg and North Huntingdon.

"Part of living in the country, in my mind, is it's nice to have the country where you live," he said.

He hosted public meetings to "engage and energize the public" to participate in decision making in their towns. He said the meetings are the "roots of democracy," and he encouraged people to help make things right instead of just complaining about what's wrong.

"We were able to work with local governments to not only help them secure money to do planning, but for project implementation," he said. Those projects included streetscaping, sustainable development through tree planting and stormwater planning, and green parking lots, which allow water to infiltrate the ground to limit runoff.

Smart Growth established five Main Street programs under Mr. Graziani's leadership as executive director, and he hopes to use some of the things he learned with Smart Growth in his new position.

He said that by the end of the year he aims "to learn how to do my job ... the best I can." In the meantime, he'll "try to figure out the new parameters related to work and family life balance."

SNAPSHJOT

ALEX GRAZIANI

AGE: 40

HOMETOWN: New Castle native, lives in Greensburg

OCCUPATION: Manager for the City of Latrobe

EDUCATION: Bachelor's degree from Westminster College, master's degree from University of Pittsburgh. …

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