Pittsburgh Council has again voted to hold off making a decision on the historic status of the Civic Arena for one week.
While some Council Members wanted a preliminary vote on the designation today, others argued for a three-week hold with a post-agenda meeting held in the meantime.
Councilman Doug Shields, in particular, supported waiting to receive a master development plan from the Pittsburgh Penguins before voting on the designation.
Shields says he also wants to look more closely at the new arena transaction that he says awarded the Penguins with the Civic Arena property. He says former Governor Ed Rendell, County Executive Dan Onorato, and Mayor Luke Ravenstahl were all familiar with the deal, and he says he wants to ask them about the mechanics of it.
But Councilman Daniel Lavelle was adamant that the arena is an obstacle to the redevelopment of the Hill District community, which is in his Council District. Lavelle says he is “in a rush” to demolish the arena so that redevelopment can begin.
Councilman Ricky Burgess echoed that argument, saying it is unlikely anyone will submit a development plan if it’s still dubious that the old arena will be torn down.
Shields says Council’s designation of the Civic Arena as historic may not save it from being bulldozed; he says other Pittsburgh buildings have received the historic designation but have been razed all the same.