Big Lead Sports Bar


Pens President David Morehouse Booed at Arena Meeting

The political gridlock over the Civic Arena's future continued Monday at a two-hour meeting, but one thing was for sure: at least some of the crowd wasn't enthused to see or hear from Penguin President David Morehouse.

Morehouse, part of the pro-demolition crowd, was booed during his testimony by some of those in attendance who apparently forgot they weren't at a hockey game. Not to be lost in all this is the minor detail that the Penguins do have the development rights to over 28 acres of land including the arena, but nonetheless, Morehouse had this to say to he assembled and seemingly unwelcoming crowd:

"In the last 20 years, there have been 25 new NHL arenas, 25 NBA arenas, 22 Major League baseball ballparks, 22 NFL stadiums. An equal number of those arenas and stadiums have been demolished. The reason for that is because there's no real good economic viable reuse option for a structure of that size."

Conversely, State Senator Jim Ferlo urged the SEA, which owns the structure, to declare a "two-year cooling off period" to develop a process to consider alternative reuses for the venue. Hey, why not three years? It's not like anyone in the city knew this was going to eventually be an issue.

Said Ferlo:

"What an embarrassing contradiction for city and county leaders to tout our green and sustainable initiatives, projecting new regional initiatives of sustainability principals and projects, yet are so quick to implement the self-serving and selfish demolition agenda of the Penguins organization."

To the surprise of no one, no action was ultimately decided on by the conclusion of the meeting, as State Senator Wayne Fontana, the SEA board chairman, said he personally wanted to review the testimony and give the matter some thought before deciding what to do.

The cause to save the arena has been led by the Reuse the Igloo group, which has developed a fairly extensive website on the topic and has been a visible and vocal presence in the ongoing debate. They've also started an online petition to save the building, which sits at a surprisingly low 1147 signatures at the time of this posting. If Monday's meeting was any indicator, that number can only rise, because this decision looks like it's going nowhere fast.

For more:
Reuse the Igloo []

Mondesi's House: The Director's Cut (more links, commentary, etc:


TrolleyRider said...

"It makes no economic sense."

"But it's GREEN!!! Kind of! Well, we could make it green, maybe!!"

Hmmm...sounds pretty much like every other environmental argument.

BurressWithButterflywings said...

I think it's funny when I hear people calling the Pens selfish or mulling over the tax dollars that are funding that arena.

We had the Isle of Capri offering to come in here and build that arena for ZERO cost to the taxpayers, but that was shot down so the casino license could be awarded to a fledgling organization that couldn't even initially get bonded. Btw, that Casino isn't doing too well, either.

I know that the Hill District residents were up in arms of a casino being built nearby and the potential crowd it could draw. I mean, who needs a real Casino when there are dice games and Driveby Roulette every night?

RuthenianCowboy said...

Mario should have gone. No one would DARE boo him.

And taken Godard, just in case.

Steve said...

I love the old igloo as much as anyone, but people have to let it go already, it's never going to make more money than upkeep, taxes and the general operation of it will cost and it's never going to be as economically viable as a complete redevelopment of the area will. It’s continued existence sure as hell won't benefit the incessant complainers from the hill; people who blame -- and probably rightfully so -- the arena for the decline of the hill district in the first place. All you have to do is tell someone you’re gonna tear something down and before you can say “hippy activist” there will be people there to tie themselves to the beams. Once these people get their teeth into something they’ll hang on until they’re beaten off with clubs. They don’t even have a logical idea as to what to do with it if they did save it but that’s not going to stop them. I know, they can make a big red cross or salvation army thrift store out of it, maybe a YMCA. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

BurressWithButterflywings said...

Yup, the Arena is the biggest culprit for the decline of The Hill. None of the residents of the HUD and Sec. 8 properties have anything to do with that.

What is the most common headline on the PG's website: Man Shot in Hill District.

Koz said...

Not sure which is more pathetic: the Reuse the Igloo ideas or the website created to promote them.

Steve said...

Burress, I'm not saying that the Civic Arena's is solely to blame for how bad it's gotten, but according to people who lived in the city prior, the Hill wasn't a terrible place before they cut it off from the city's street grid by stuffing the arena in there. when you isolate a portion of the city like that, it eventually becomes less desirable a place to live, then the property values drop, the businesses move out, the people move out...etc. and it dominoes into what you have now. I’m not making excuse for the Hill, just saying that if the Civic Arena didn’t go up, chances are good the Hill doesn’t transform into what it is today.

Unknown said...

The Re-use the igloo crowd does get a little ridiculous at times. When someone on their side brings it up I say "just blow it up, let it go" and that's usually results in some indignation about "historical landmarks" and "childhood memories."

Move on, people.