For years, someone — mother, significant other, mental-health professional, probation officer — has been telling you to stop living in the past and to look to the future. The problem, of course, is that the future is cold, scary and full of unknown catastrophic dangers — bottomless potholes, cast-aside parking chairs and Daryl Metcalfe's latest bugaboo. Well, fear no more, dear reader. We asked some notable Pittsburghers to give us some predictions for the region in 2015. We're sure most of them are bound to come true, because if it's in the paper, it has to be true.
Scott Bricker, director, BikePgh
Local news outlets disable their comments sections en masse.
Dr. Karen Hacker, director, Allegheny County Health Department
This is the year that Pittsburghers throw away their deep fryers, maintain their gym membership beyond February and switch to spandex. Live well, Allegheny!
Greg Brown, Pittsburgh Pirates play-by-play announcer
If the Pirates stay healthy, they can win the NL Central. I love what Clint Hurdle has been saying this off season— that we have tried the Wild Card game two years in a row; it was fun, but we're looking to do better things now. We've outgrown it, is what he said. I also pay close attention to the national baseball programs and prognosticators, and it's heartening to hear these individuals talk about the Pirates and the Cardinals being the teams to beat in the division. Their pitching staff is going to be stronger than it has been in years, and that's the way to win these days — strong pitching.
Natalia Rudiak, City Councilor District 4
Pittsburgh hipsters adopt the new "Undercover Boss Peduto" look. And after continuous closures and re-closures of the Fort Pitt Tunnel, it's decided to just turn it into a bike lane.
Bill Flanagan, executive vice president of corporate relations, Allegheny Conference
The Pittsburgh region is about as well positioned for sustainable prosperity as it has been at any time since I moved here in 1982. Total employment is at an all-time high, more people are moving in than moving out — especially younger people. We're home to one of the best-educated workforces in the country ... when it comes to the concentration of young people with advanced degrees. At the same time, we shouldn't expect an economic boom any time soon. As the national economy has begun heating up, our job-growth rate has been slowing, and our workforce is aging, making it harder for many employers to find skilled workers. So, in 2015, look for continued modest, but steady, improvement for our economy, supporting an enviable balance between economic opportunity and quality of life.
Shayontani Banerjee, local musician
Due to a minute typo on hipster blogs, Pittsburgh will now be the "Most Lovable City" for 2015. New residents will include only puppies, kittens and baby snakes. Also, steamed dumplings will be trending, and I hear we might get street food past 8:45 p.m.
Craig Davis, president and CEO, VisitPITTSBURGH
With city-wide conventions like the Fraternal Order of Police and the VFW, and events like the NCAA Men's Basketball tournament, 2015 will be a record year for meetings, conventions and events in Pittsburgh. In addition, we expect that several new blockbuster attractions and exhibitions will be announced that will draw media attention and leisure travelers to our area, so the outlook for tourism is a very vibrant and exciting year for the region.
Sue Kerr, blogger, Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents blog
Twenty-four years after serving as an intern for Rick Santorum, I will be hitting the campaign trail — culminating in a re-creation of my iconic internship graduation photo — with Dan Savage bringing his best Santorum to the U.S. Capitol steps. Proceeds from sales of the official Savage-Sue-Santorum Sweater Vest will benefit Planned Parenthood.
Charlie Humphrey, executive director, Pittsburgh Filmmakers/Pittsburgh Center for the Arts
In 2015, the beginning of the end of football will occur when horrified TV viewers see an NFL player torn in two during a routine play from scrimmage.
Mike Schiller, CEO, Green Building Alliance
Every law firm in Pittsburgh will stop using Styrofoam cups. Mayor Peduto will have a not-so-small cameo role in a major motion picture filmed here. Some significant real-estate development will occur in the Hamilton Avenue/Frankstown Avenue corridor. The Energy Innovation Center will gain national recognition for its renovation and its mission. More than one person living in Pittsburgh will win a MacArthur "genius" award. Either Pennsylvania or Pittsburgh will see the start of a "green bank" (a nonprofit lender focused on renewable energy and energy efficiency).
Joylette Portlock, President, Communitopia
Things in Pittsburgh keep getting better, and a big part of that is our renewed commitment to environmental awareness and action. There are so many fantastic local projects slated for 2015 already — wins for our communities, economy and environment that I'd love to shamelessly promote, but that would take more space than I've got! Suffice it to say, stay tuned — 2015 is going to be green!
Janera Solomon, executive director, Kelly-Strayhorn Theater
A new hip-hop/funk lounge opens in East Liberty — and closes just five days later. Word on the street? The lounge was either a trendy pop-up or one of "those loud dance parties" at Kelly-Strayhorn Theater. Theater dance parties become the next big thing. KST already hosts post-performance, impromptu dance parties, and the last one became so successful it turned into a three-day "dance festival."
Jason Baldinger, poet and mainstay of the Pittsburgh literary scene
Bill Peduto finally decides that a minimum-wage increase would better serve the residents of Pittsburgh, and pushes through an increase to $12 hourly. Most of the city's writers breathe a sigh of relief, secure that for the first time in a decade, they don't have to decide between eating and paying their rent.
The Pittsburgh Pirates end a 36-year drought with a World Series win! In the last weekend of the season, they secure the division over the Cardinals and skip the wild-card game. They take down the Cards in the division series and the Dodgers in the NL championship series. They meet the Orioles in a much-delayed rematch of 1979 and win the series in six games. All four pierogies are arrested for streaking across the Roberto Clemente Bridge in the aftermath.
State Rep. Ed Gainey
I think we'll pass medical-marijuana next year. I think both sides — the Democrats and Republicans — are on board with helping these families. I think the myths out there are coming to an end. There's enough evidence that says this will help families.
Linda Lane, Pittsburgh Public Schools Superintendent
My prediction is that over 100 nonprofits, city organizations and supporters of public schools in Pittsburgh will come together in 2015 to develop a model for collective impact to make this a better city to support our children.
Dejan Kovacevic, columnist, DKonPittsburghSports.com, on Pittsburgh sports in 2015:
Our city's sports fans once again will experience a year in which the Steelers, Penguins and Pirates all will be contenders. Our city's sports fans once again will enjoy watching at least two legit MVP candidates on each team: Ben Roethlisberger, Le'Veon Bell, Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Andrew McCutchen and Josh Harrison. Our city's sports fans once again will know across-the-board success, from the team and individual standpoints, at a scale perhaps unmatched in North America. And man, will we be ticked off about it. We'll complain, we'll curse, we'll stomp out of the stadium or arena early, we'll toss the remote across the living room, and, only if we're feeling generous, we'll spare the poor dog. We'll blame Todd Haley for all that goes awry. Or Marc-Andre Fleury. Or Bob Nutting. We'll "obviously" groan at every Mike Tomlin cliché, we'll point back to Dan Bylsma for everything Mike Johnston butchers, and we'll second-guess every bullpen guy summoned by Clint Hurdle ... but only after the home run is given up, of course. We'll focus not nearly as much on our own triumphs as on the collectively blissful misery of the Ravens, Flyers and Brewers. And Harbaughs — all the Harbaughs. We'll tear into NFL commissioner Roger Goodell because he hates us, NHL referees because they really hate us and Major League Baseball's lack of a salary cap that might as well hate us. It's who we are. And hey, maybe it's why we're pretty good at this stuff.
Erin Ninehouser, Pennsylvania Health Access Network
While outgoing Gov. Tom Corbett finally succumbed to pressure from advocates, hospitals, and members of his own party to stop blocking the Affordable Care Act's Medicaid Expansion, his alternative — Healthy PA — comes with extra expense, new layers of bureaucracy, and severe benefit cuts for Pennsylvania's most vulnerable citizens. We expect this unnecessarily complex and costly system to be dismantled by incoming Gov. Tom Wolf.
Matthew Newton, writer and journalist
With its influx of pioneers, prospectors and speculators in recent years, Pittsburgh has quickly become the Wild West of the Rust Belt, with every variety of schemer and huckster hoping to strike gold during the city's current state of post-industrial prosperity. Amid the hordes of row-house flippers, digital evangelists and would-be restaurateurs, however, a more troubling reality continues to emerge — the yawning class divide between the haves and the have-nots.
Brett Kashmere, director of From Deep, a recent film about the intertwined cultures of basketball, race and hip hop
Not since the 1960s have we seen professional athletes express their political opinions so prominently. 2015 will mark a continuation of this synergy between sports and the struggle for social justice — a clear rejection of the repressive "shut up and play" attitude that has pervaded American sports (and entertainment) for the past several decades.
Grace Miller, Beers of the Burgh co-founder
There'll be a few new breweries, and we'll see some old favorites expanding. There are a number of specialty breweries pretty well established here, and I'm hoping to see people embrace a wider variety of styles. It'll be great to see how all these local brewers are able to work together to really put Pittsburgh craft beer on the map.
Jeff Betten, owner, Wild Kindness Records:
An ascendant indie pop/rock scene will redefine Pittsburgh's image throughout the world. Footage from a local gig will be used as a cutaway during the Steelers 2015 Monday Night Football appearance in lieu of the usual shot of a Primanti's sandwich.
Cindy Howes, Morning Mix host, 91.3 FM WYEP
I predict even more artists and musicians choosing to live in Pittsburgh, further securing the city as a hub for creativity. Streaming music services will be taken to task and forced to re-evaluate how they compensate artists for their work. (Thank you Erin Mckeown, David Lowery, Billy Bragg, Taylor Swift, Aloe Blacc.) Also, maybe they will cancel The Voice, finally (apologies to Chris Jamison)?
— Compiled by Al Hoff, Andy Mulkerin, Ashley Murray, Rebecca Nuttall, Bill O'Driscoll, Margaret Welsh and Alex Zimmerman