Thursday, July 7, 2011

Preservation Pittsburgh files lawsuit against city to stop demolition

Preservation Pittsburgh has filed a lawsuit against the Sports and Exhibition authority, the city mayor, county commissioner, US Transportation Secretary Ray Lahood and two other transportation officials to stop the demolition of a sports arena

The complaint said the Arena demolition would violate the National Historic Preservation Act  in the use of Highway funds to redevelop the site of the 50 year old arena. The lawsuit seeks a declaratory order that city actions to approve demolition are "unlawful and invalid" and to bar the use of federal funds for to rebuild streets around the arena site.

The arena was found  in 2001 by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission to be eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic places. As part of the redevelopment  a 975,000.00 earmark is involved.

According to the complaint the Federal Highway Commission has not  fulfilled the legal mandate to minimize harm to historic structures nor has it completed an environmental impact of any redevelopment Preservation Pittsburgh seeks the order which would temporarily block demolition of the Civic Arena until federal agencies perform the reviews required under the National Environmental Policy Act and the National Historic Preservation Act. The organization also seeks and injunction preventing the city from proceeding with the street improvements.

On June 28th , the Council rejected a historic Designation that could have saved the arena from demolition.

My Opinion? It's nice to see a local preservation organization group actually willing to fight to save things. Compare this to the MSD Lick Run project here in Cincinnati which is subject to a 875,000.00 federal earmark and will need Highway funds, HUD and EPA funding and Fairmount has dozens of properties individually eligible and the neighborhood as whole could easily be a national historic district..Note to CPA, this is how you save things by not being afraid to fight for them in public.

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