Commissioner’s Column: Mindy Ranney

Mindy Ranney, Ward 1 Commissioner

Over the past four years as Commissioner, I’ve asked residents what they love about Mt. Lebanon and how we need to improve. You love your neighbors (for the most part!), the walkability, the great schools, the character and charm, our recreation offerings, our safety and our unique business districts without the usual chains.  

You dislike the lack of walkability (traffic makes you feel unsafe), you want improved recreation, you have strong feelings about trees and you are worried about climate change impacting you and your loved ones.

I have based my decisions on this information and I’m proud to report how much progress we’ve made. We passed a complete streets policy and are working on an active transportation plan—the first steps in addressing how we may redesign our roads, sidewalk networks and walking paths to better serve you, while discouraging commuters from other towns to cut through. We’ve funded traffic calming measures to increase pedestrian and vehicular safety and we are studying their impacts for future use. We updated our sidewalk policy to make it easier for residents who want sidewalks to collaborate with each other and cost-share with the municipality. 

We completed a 10-year Parks and Recreation Master Plan, and we are starting to implement the recommendations, including facilities upgrades, better signage and an invasive vegetation management plan. We passed a climate resolution and are updating our climate action plan. We invest around $600,000 a year on stormwater infrastructure improvements to capture water efficiently and prevent flooding. Among the projects: repairing ice spot areas, improving curbs, replacing defective pipes and upgrading sewers. The fire department has already noticed the impact of the stormwater work, with fewer emergency flooding calls. We have best-in-class public safety and emergency response departments, with an average response time well under five minutes. Our cardiac arrest survival rates are five times higher than the national average. 

After years of research and deliberation, we adopted a brick streets preservation policy, which commits to preserving most brick streets. We are wrapping up our comprehensive plan, which will include recommendations for how to achieve the goals residents most want. We undertook a yearlong resident-led diversity and inclusion effort to embed DEI into how we operate. 

All municipal electricity purchased is now carbon-free, we’ve installed nine air quality monitors throughout the municipality and are placing EV charging stations in municipal parking lots. We installed money-saving solar panels on the library and we intend to expand solar to other municipal buildings. 

To secure a better future, we need local energy redundancy and resilience as well as emergency centers to ensure our residents’ safety during power outages in extreme cold or heat.  We must continue to invest in stormwater infrastructure as a flood mitigation strategy. 

It’s time to reimagine our shared community assets to better reflect our community’s values. This involves enhancing parks and green spaces and providing better access to them. We need to reimagine how we best want to use our roadways. We need to ensure we are effectively using and maintaining all public assets including municipal recreation facilities and municipal owned property. Our town boasts several key strengths, including a strong sense of community, character, walkability, volunteerism, and vibrancy. We must capitalize on these strengths to create a sustainable and more enjoyable environment. 

Mt. Lebanon has all the ingredients necessary to continue to be a highly desirable place to live and attract new residents. Our desirability is found in tightly knit streets, where neighborly interactions flourish and deep relationships strengthen our sense of shared purpose. Dedicated volunteers create a thriving community life by participating at events like the Artists’ Market, First Fridays, farmers markets, Earth Day, Lebo Pride, Beverly Brite Nite and block parties. From a gorgeous golf course to a cool swimming pool with slides and rock-climbing walls, an array of recreational options awaits. We have an extensive network of tennis courts, some of which are open year-round, thanks to the nonprofit Mt. Lebanon Indoor Tennis. Paddle ball enthusiasts will find a nationally ranked club here. We have an ice rink with programs for hockey and skating enthusiasts. Our outdoor basketball courts, many sports fields, summer camps, playground equipment and senior programs offer something for everyone.

I’m not running for Commissioner again due to health issues in my family, but I don’t need to be an elected official to make a substantial impact on our community.  The effort of volunteers is the primary driver of change and progress. Together, we can ensure that our town remains a destination that people are proud to call home.