Efforts to preserve the Pittsburgh Civic Arena have failed before the city’s Planning Commission and it’s Historic Review Commission, but the structure has one last chance. Pittsburgh City Council this morning received legislation designating the structure has historic. It comes to the body with a negative recommendation, which means it will take six votes among the nine council members to pass.
“I believe it is in the city’s interest as a whole to redevelop that site to provide thousands of good jobs, to provide millions in tax revenue to the city,” says Councilman Daniel Lavelle who represents the Hill District and has been an outspoken supporter against historic designation. “I think it is in [fellow councilmember’s] interests recognizing the needs of the city on a whole to decided on our financial interests over preservation.”
Councilman Bill Peduto says this may not have to be an argument pitting preservation verse demolition. “There may be third ways of looking at this. To be able to save part of this while still allowing for development and there are people coming forward with some ideas on that as well,” says Peduto.
Among those ideas is a plan to leave the curved steel structure that holds up the roof in place. No mater what the plan may be, councilman Bruce Kraus says he promises a full and fair hearing for all sides. “The council will take the process very seriously, there will be a number of meetings that will be scheduled, I’m happy to take public input from across the board from anyone who has an interest,” says Krauss. From there he says council will make an informed decision.
Lavelle says there is nothing that can be said to change his mind and he says he has support of the community. “To me this is a clear case. This community, the Hill District has been very outspoken… and I would feel very comfortable that the vast majority, probably over 90%, wants to see the arena removed.”
Hill district resident Eloise McDonald nominated the arena for historic status.
Council is expected to hold a special meeting on the designation in mid June and take a final vote in late June.