As a Hill District property owner, I paid close attention to the recent Post-Gazette article “Unified Arena Proposal Coming” (Aug. 19), suggesting that an agreement may be forthcoming between residents of the Hill and the Penguins organization. Let’s hope so.
Pittsburghers reluctantly gave up the Civic Arena, believing that removing it was key to successfully developing this vital site for Pittsburgh’s future. Most supported the idea, yet questioned the wisdom of leaving control of it in the hands of a hockey team.
Three years later, that future is still on hold. While other projects in the city are rapidly moving forward, the arena site remains dormant, covered with parking spaces and weeds. The Penguins blame Hill residents groups who want more low-income housing for the delay. Really?
While the 10 percent difference may be important to a few, it should not be a core reason to halt the progress of this monumental project — one that could turn 28 acres of nothing into a great Pittsburgh destination. For more than two years, the Penguins organization has been gathering and evaluating input from stakeholders and community leaders. The housing issue is one component that should be worked out. However, at some point, a good management team considers all input, incorporates as many concerns as feasible and moves forward.
If the Penguins believe that a delay will eventually resolve all issues with everyone, they have no understanding of human nature. Trying to please everyone will ultimately please no one, and the project could be a failure before the first shovel of dirt flies.
I urge the Penguins to begin the project on time and resolve issues as the project evolves — or, step aside — and the city should hire someone who can.
GARY A. CRAVENER