Friday, June 11, 2010

Preservationists Conduct Own Study On Fate Of Arena

The city-county Sports and Exhibition Authority has delayed its next meeting on the future of the Mellon Arena until July 13th. Consultants for the SEA have sent a report to the Pennsylvania Bureau of Historic Preservation that recommends the arena should be razed. The bureau has 30 days to review the study which concludes that the plan by the Penguins, who have the development rights to the 28 acre site, would produce the greatest economic benefit. The Penguins want to demolish the arena and build a mixed-use development.
While the state bureau is reviewing that study, 2 groups that want to save the arena, Preservation Pittsburgh and ReUse the Igloo, have hired a consulting firm to conduct a separate study.
Architect Rob Pfaffman of ReUse the Igloo says the struggle is not easy..."We're up against developments and organizations that don't fully appreciate the value of historic preservation to the region's image and livability."
The SEA has held one public meeting in the Hill District and 6 closed-door meetings, the most recent Wednesday night.
Pfaffman says the 2 preservation groups have reached out to the residents of the Hill..."We sit down calmly and present the idea that historic preservation is not about hugging a building, but making it serve a community need and an economic need."

Pfaffman says he will take their study...not to the SEA...but to the residents of the Hill District.
The final decision on the fate of the arena is up to the SEA.

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