Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Sweet Survival? Gingerbread Houses May Move to City Hall

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Sweet Survival? Gingerbread Houses May Move to City Hall

Article excerpt

In recent years, Pittsburgh has been engaged in a high-profile bid to preserve and expand affordable housing in neighborhoods. Now it's making a push to save another kind of housing - the gingerbread type.

The administration of Mayor Bill Peduto may provide a home in the City-County Building for the annual holiday gingerbread house display being displaced from the Wintergarden in PPG Place.

James Hill, the mayor's executive assistant, said the administration hopes to house the delectable display in the building's grand lobby, which is about 180 feet long and more than 20 feet wide with a 47-foot-high ceiling.

It's a place where residents have been able to pay their respects to deceased mayors and, more recently, to testify about the city's controversial proposed gun laws. The City-County Building itself currently is home to city and Allegheny County offices, courtrooms and other facilities.

Mr. Hill said one of his goals has been to make better use of the long, columned space for the public. Moving the display to Grant Street could help in that regard.

"I thought it would be a really cool way of keeping a tradition alive and bringing more people to the City-County Building," he said. "It seemed like such a shame to let it slip away."

However, the move is not fully baked yet.

Mr. Hill said the city is still trying to determine whether the lobby is big enough to house the scrumptious collection without hampering access to public offices. This past holiday season, the Wintergarden played host to more than 500 gingerbread houses.

It's not worth taking over the holiday staple, which got its start in 2002, if the number of entries would have to be drastically cut, Mr. Hill noted.

Citiparks and the office of special events currently are looking at the logistics of housing the display.

If the response is favorable, the city hopes to work out the details by mid-February with Highwoods Properties - the owner of PPG Place - to take over the display, Mr. …

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