FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media contact: Stephan Bontrager, Riverlife
July 2, 2019
PITTSBURGH- Riverlife, the nonprofit organization working to implement a community vision for Pittsburgh’s riverfront parks, trails, public open space and real estate development, announced today the appointment of Matthew Galluzzo as president and chief executive officer. Riverlife’s board of directors unanimously voted to hire Mr. Galluzzo after a nationwide search for the organization’s next president. He will begin his appointment at Riverlife effective September 16, 2019.
Mr. Galluzzo currently serves as executive director of Lawrenceville Corporation in Pittsburgh, the community development corporation and neighborhood business association in an Allegheny River-adjacent neighborhood that has seen tremendous growth over the past decade. During his time at that organization, he facilitated over $200 million in public and private investment in the neighborhood, worked closely with Pittsburgh City Planning to advance and establish the citywide Riverfront Zoning District, and oversaw the creation and implementation of the first Community Land Trust in Western Pennsylvania.
“Riverlife’s search committee fielded hundreds of applications from very highly qualified candidates from across the country, and the process kept taking us back to Matt Galluzzo right here in Pittsburgh,” said Peg McCormick Barron, chair of Riverlife’s board of directors. “Matt’s remarkable accomplishments in one of fastest growing riverfront neighborhoods in the city, combined with his knowledge, leadership and heart for community-driven development, made him easily stand out as the perfect fit for the next chapter of Riverlife.”
“The opportunity to serve Riverlife–to shape the future of our one shared asset—is an incredible and undeniable privilege,” said Mr. Galluzzo. “The rivers not only physically define Pittsburgh, but they serve as a fitting metaphor for the city right now: unique with incredible potential, grand in both presence and spectacle, constantly in fluid change, and a little rough around the edges. Riverlife is an essential part of that fabric. I relish the challenge to lead such a vital part of our community.”
Riverlife began as a task force in August 1999 when a group of elected officials, community members, philanthropists and urban planners began a community process to develop a vision for the redevelopment of Pittsburgh’s underutilized riverfronts. The vision plan called for the development of a 15-mile, 880-acre interconnected system of riverfront parks, trails and adjacent real estate investment. As Riverlife celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, over 85% of that original vision has been completed. The organization has overseen $132 million in investment in Pittsburgh’s downtown riverfronts, which has catalyzed over $4.2 billion in adjacent real estate development.
Riverlife projects include the Mon Wharf Landing linear park and trail and the recently opened switchback ramp connecting it to the Smithfield Street Bridge; South Shore Riverfront Park at SouthSide Works; the vision for Strip District Riverfront Park, and the $40 million renovation of Point State Park and its fountain. Riverlife’s Design Review Committee meets regularly with developers and riverfront real estate project proponents to offer constructive feedback on development plans and help ensure connectivity and user amenities along the Downtown riverfronts.
Mr. Galluzzo will succeed Pete Mendes, who has served as interim president since April 2018. “Our board and staff extend a heartfelt thank you to Pete Mendes, who has guided the organization through a time of leadership transition, completed construction on the Mon Wharf switchback, and assisted the board in completing the first phase of a comprehensive strategic visioning process that brought us to where we are now, with Matt Galluzzo positioned to lead Riverlife into an exciting future,” said Ms. McCormick Baron.
A native of Springfield, Ohio, Mr. Galluzzo moved to Pittsburgh in 2002 with his wife, a native. Mr. Galluzzo received his BA in English from Thomas More College and a master’s degree in Community Organization and Social Administration from University of Pittsburgh. Prior to his time at Lawrenceville Corporation, Mr. Galluzzo served as Arts District Manager for the Penn Avenue Arts Initiative and was an adjunct professor at University of Pittsburgh in Community Planning and Development. He joined Lawrenceville Corporation in 2010.
“Although it’s hard for any organization to lose an executive director like Matt, we are thrilled for him and excited for our region and its riverfronts as he steps into his new role with Riverlife,” said Lauren Byrne Connelly, Lawrenceville Corporation board chair. “Matt’s innovative approach to community development has led the organization to achieve incredible outcomes during periods of significant growth and transformation within both the Lawrenceville Corporation and the Lawrenceville community itself. We look forward to working with him in new ways and especially as a key partner in the continued development of the Allegheny Riverfront.”
“Regional expectations of the rivers as our shared amenity are changing and status quo won’t be acceptable moving forward. The riverfront needs to be dazzling, accessible to everyone, and replete with programming that cannot be found anywhere else in the region.” Mr. Galluzzo said. “Pittsburgh is a city of neighborhoods, and I come from neighborhood work. I hope to use that experience to build and reinforce connections to the places we call home.”
Top image courtesy of Dave DiCello, used with permission.
Lower image courtesy of Matthew Galluzzo.