Pittsburgh’s Best Stories of 2022
The year 2022 began with Pittsburgh making national headlines when the Fern Hollow Bridge collapsed in the city’s Frick Park. It ended with the death of beloved NFL Hall of Fame running back Franco Harris.
Throughout the year, Pittsburgh would see several other major headlines, including the completion of a new Fern Hollow bridge, rampant gun violence, and a new name for the home of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Here are some of the top stories covered by the Tribune-Review in Pittsburgh in 2022:
Fern Hollow Bridge collapsed – and was rebuilt
Ten people were injured on January 28 when Pittsburgh’s Frick Park Fern Hollow Bridge Collapsed, sending a Port Authority bus and several vehicles into a ravine. President Joe Biden joined the local authorities to visit the site on the day of the collapse and thereafter earmarked $25.3 million from its federal infrastructure bill to rebuild the destroyed span.
President in October again visited the duration to assess the progress of reconstruction.
With federal funding and declarations of emergency to allow work to progress quickly, the bridge was rebuilt in less than a year.
The collapse caused a lot of worry the condition of local bridges. Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey has promised to launch a bridge asset management program and ordered a study that highlighted the need for additional repairs and maintenance for city bridges.
Easter Morning Shooting Leaves 2 Dead, 8 Injured at North Side Airbnb
Two teenagers were killed and eight other people were injured in a early morning filming on Easter Sunday at a party inside an Airbnb North Side.
Officials said about 200 people, many of them minors, were at a party at the rental property when gunfire rang out.
Police said an officer was called to the party on a noise complaint about 90 minutes before the shooting broke out. The officer said he saw nothing to indicate trouble was brewing.
A woman who was shot in the incident later filed a lawsuit against Airbnb and the owners.
The Pittsburgh City Council has been considering legislation that would regulate Airbnb properties following the deadly shooting.
2 innocent bystanders killed in North Side; funeral of third victim cut short by gunfire
Two innocent women – Jacquelyn Mehalic and Betty J. Averytt – have been among three people killed when gunfire erupted in October near Allegheny Commons on Pittsburgh’s North Side.
Residents said they were fed up with violenceand police arrested two men in connection with the shooting the following month.
The funeral at Destiny of Faith Church in Brighton Heights for the third victim was interrupted by violence when five people were shot outside the church during the funeral.
Pittsburgh police said their protection had been requested at the funeral, but the officers were not there when the violence broke out.
Residents and business owners have expressed concern over the increase in violence in the South Side
Pittsburgh’s south side nightlife district has seen a spate of violence this year that has taken many residents and business owners by surprise.
Gainey and other local leaders met with residents and other stakeholders with the aim of collaborating on solutions to deal with the wave of shootings in the surface. Gainey, one weekend evening, visited the problem section of East Carson Streetwhere he had also increased police patrols in an effort to stem the violence.
Midterm elections a success for local Democrats
Democrats put up a strong showing in the region in this year’s midterm elections.
Democrat Josh Shapiro, currently Commonwealth Attorney General, was elected the next Governor of Pennsylvania.
Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman beat famed doctor Mehmet Oz to overthrow a GOP-held seat for Democrats in the U.S. Senate. His victory has come after suffering a stroke during his campaign.
State Rep. Summer Lee, also a Democrat, won his candidacy for Pennsylvania’s 12th congressional district and is set to become the Commonwealth’s first black MP.
Iraq war veteran and suffrage lawyer Chris Deluzio won Pennsylvania’s 17th congressional district for the Democratic Party.
His Republican opponent, Jeremy Shaffer, joined other local GOP leaders in calling for broader Republican support for mail-in ballots after the party’s poor midterm performance may have been hampered by their refusal to embrace postal voting.
Pittsburgh grapples with homelessness
Pittsburgh leaders tried to find solutions to help the city’s homeless population among what many have called an affordable housing crisis. Council chair Theresa Kail-Smith has suggested building small homes, and city leaders are exploring limited-equity housing cooperatives and secondary suites as potential means of increasing the city’s affordable housing stock.
With many offices largely empty since the pandemic triggered a shift to remote working, officials are also looking to convert unused downtown office space into residential units.
A new year-round homeless shelter, dubbed Second Avenue Commons, opened Downtown in November and filled to capacity in about a week. Additional beds have been installed in the cafeteria in order to accommodate more people.
Pittsburgh officials demolished a homeless encampment under the 10th Street Bypass in November, a move that was necessary to clear and secure a hazardous area, according to Gainey’s administration. Earlier this month, the city closed an encampment on the north side of the city.
Heinz Field was renamed Acrisure Stadium
The home of the Pittsburgh Steelers has a new name this year.
The venue that used to be called Heinz Field since 2001 is now known as Acrisure Stadium – although many Steelers fans expressed their displeasure with the name change and vowed to continue to refer to the stadium as Heinz Field.
the the oversized ketchup bottles that adorned the on-field scoreboard have been removed when the stadium was renamed. One of the bottles, however, will be displayed elsewhere in the stadiumthrough a sponsorship deal between Kraft Heinz and the Steelers.
Steelers great Franco Harris dies just before 50th anniversary of immaculate reception
Pittsburgh Steelers great Franco Harris died aged 72 days before the 50th anniversary of his famous immaculate reception.
Hall of Fame running back was honored during the festivities celebrating the anniversary of the Immaculate Reception at a Steelers game on Christmas Eve. Harris’ number was retired and his family joined their former teammates on the pitch at Acrisure Stadium as fans chanted his name.
Harris was remembers a man who became a larger-than-life sporting hero, popular citizen and constant figure in local charity work. His his family said he represented “the best in humanity,” and fans flocked to the immaculate North Shore Pittsburgh reception marker and Harris statue at Pittsburgh International Airport pay homage.
The Tree of Life Synagogue has unveiled plans to create a memorial, museum and worship space
Tree of Life Synagogue in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood this year announced that its renovated site will include a memorial, museum, place of worship and institute against anti-Semitism.
The space has stood empty since the 2018 attack that killed 11 people in congregations – Tree of Life, New Light and Dor Hadash.
Judah Samet, who survived both the Tree of Life shootings and the Bergen-Belsen Nazi concentration camp during the Holocaust, died this year aged 84.
Samet spent years speaking in schools and at various events about his Holocaust experience to make sure people remembered what happened.
The Pittsburgh Community gathered in Schenley Park to remember the lives lost in the attack on the Tree of Life on the fourth anniversary of the massacre.
Ukrainians in Pittsburgh saw their country ravished by war
Pittsburgh residents with ties to Ukraine watched what was happening in their homeland when Russian President Vladimir Putin attacked the neighboring country.
Tymofiy Mylovanov, a professor at the University of Pittsburgh – who splits his time between Pittsburgh and Ukraine, where he is president of the Kyiv School of Economics and adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy – said called on the United States to provide arms, funds and training to Ukraine.
Some Ukrainian refugees settled in the Pittsburgh area to escape the violence in Ukraine. Ukrainian immigrants have settled in western Pennsylvania for generations.