November 22, 2010                                                                             Contact: Carl Redwood, Jr., 412-697-4692

The Hill District Consensus Group supports the redevelopment of the Lower Hill District. We also maintain that development in the Hill District should provide benefits for Hill District residents.

Today we are discussing the demolition of the Civic Arena to make way for additional surface parking lots. The Hill District Consensus Group is opposed to additional surface parking in our community.

We are also opposed to the public providing subsidies to for profit corporations with no requirement for explicit benefits to the community.

It is ironic that the City of Pittsburgh has been struggling over selling city parking lots to raise revenue, but in the lower hill we have given away 2400 surface parking spaces and the revenue and today we are preparing to give away another 500 spaces and the revenue.

The fact that this action is being proposed as a project to bring green space to the Hill District is similar to the East Liberty project you approved that claimed the second floor and up was a different building than the first floor. The Arena is being torn down to provide parking revenue. The real question is who will collect the parking revenue and how will that benefit the community?

It seems the Planning Commission and the SEA can go to great lengths bending the rules to benefit large corporations, but when communities ask you to consider the social / community benefits you don’t understand what that means. Or you say the rules do not allow you to consider community benefits.

 

The Hill District Consensus Group opposes the demolition of the Civic Arena until specific community benefits for the Hill District are in place. We will also oppose any variance to provide additional surface parking in the Hill District unless mitigated by specific community benefits. We suggest that $1 per car be made available for a Hill District Community Improvement Fund.

Additional Subsidies require Additional benefits!

Whose City?           OUR CITY!

IN RESPONSE TO A FOLLOW-UP QUERY FROM THE COMET:

Our position is the same.

We’ve discussed the “dollar a car” option from the beginning of One Hill campaign and more recently at SEA meeting.

 

Eventually a Pen’s plan for the lower hill will happen but for the near future (could be 5 years or more) we will have surface parking. Similar to North Side.

 

We still need a community improvement fund linked to lower hill subsidies and revenues.

 

Bottom line we are still in favor of tearing down the Civic Arena. However we are not in favor of the public footing the bill without explicit public benefit.

We also oppose additional surface parking in the Hill District.

 

It’s ironic that Ravenstahl opposes floating a Parking Authority bond to support pension fund but has nothing to say about floating SEA bonds to give a gift to the Penguins.

 

They really believe in “trickle down” but it doesn’t “trickle down” to the people of Pittsburgh.