The Penguins must be held to their arena site development deadline

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I opened my Post-Gazette on Aug. 2 to see the front-page article “Penguins Seeking Another Year to Develop Civic Arena Site.” The story indicates that dissatisfied Hill residents are to blame for the delay. Well, not all of us. However, the Hill Community Development Corp. and consensus groups have raised some valid concerns. It’s been two long years of planning meetings and presentations with concessions being made to the community to address those concerns (like the new Shop & Save).

The project’s site development teams have carefully included input from neighborhood stakeholders for this massive and important project. The proposed housing percentage mix is but one aspect of an overall balance of the plan that the experts believe will keep it financially viable.

The success and excitement generated by actually breaking ground on this project with infrastructure and street replacement could be the catalyst for enticing other developers with additional ideas and solutions to come forward as the project evolves. The economic success of the plan, building a neighborhood and community, and the economic engine that this creates will be what pulls people from poverty — not by getting stuck in the minutiae of pressing for a single issue.

In my opinion, if the Penguins delay the project, it would be counterproductive to helping anyone financially. The delay sends the wrong message to developers and leaves the Hill District to remain separate and isolated from Downtown.

I implore the city, Sports & Exhibition Authority, Urban Redevelopment Authority and the county to encourage the Penguins to adhere to their deadline and begin this vital development to our wonderful city.

ERIC ROBERSON
President
Crawford Square Homeowners Association
Hill District


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