Watch CBS News

Pittsburgh leaders to announce plan to revitalize Downtown ahead of 2026 NFL Draft

Will Pittsburgh be ready to host 2026 NFL Draft?
Will Pittsburgh be ready to host 2026 NFL Draft? 03:03

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Pittsburgh is still buzzing with the news that it will host the 2026 NFL Draft.

In less than two years, Pittsburgh will roll out the welcome mat to the nation with the draft. With that as a goal, civic leaders will announce next week a comprehensive plan to remake and revitalize Downtown to host all those people. 

Pittsburgh the host city for 2026 NFL Draft

In hosting the NFL draft, Pittsburgh will need to put its best face forward, and that means continuing efforts to revitalize a Downtown still struggling with office vacancies, homeless encampments and crime. 

To that end, Governor Josh Shapiro pledged the state's help. 

"We'll be prepared to step up to make sure that this event goes off well," Shapiro said. "Not well, pardon me. That this event goes off great. And that everyone who visits Pittsburgh has a wonderful experience, that safety, security, hospitality, all of those issues will be addressed."

Two weeks before the announcement, a delegation — including Mayor Ed Gainey, Allegheny County Executive Innamorato and key business leaders from the Allegheny Conference on Community Development — met with Shapiro in Harrisburg to craft a new plan for Downtown. 

Sources say next week, the conference will unveil that plan, which includes incentives for office buildings to be converted into apartments, the creation of new public spaces and a vigorous public arts program to provide free entertainment and cultural events regularly.

The plan grew out of a trip last year to Cincinnati, where Gainey and business leaders saw how a non-profit coalition of government and corporations pioneered similar initiatives. The goal in Pittsburgh is to transform Downtown over the next two years into a vibrant neighborhood, an inviting place to live and work. 

Neither the mayor nor the county executive would comment on Monday, but at the press conference, Gainey said the draft will be an invitation to ex-Pittsburghers to come home. 

"Coming home is something people have been wanting to do for a long time," Gainey said. "And conveying that message to the NFL was easy because whenever I'm outside of the city, outside of the state and I hear people talk about our city and how much they can't wait to come back home. They just needed a reason to come."

Next week, the Allegheny Conference is expected to release the plan, along with the commitments from the government, the corporations and the foundations to getting it done. 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.