We should give nothing toward the arena site
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On July 11, the Post-Gazette reported that Allegheny County is seeking more than $114 million in state redevelopment assistance capital funding ("Projects Compete for State Aid"). In particular, the Sports & Exhibition Authority is one of those grant applicants seeking $15 million to help "jump-start" development at the 28-acre former Civic Arena site.
Despite the historical significance, common sense should have dictated that the demolition of the Civic Arena should have not gone forward until the $9.3 million in arena debt was retired and financing for redevelopment was in place. With the SEA's dismal track record of financial failures of structures under its control, should more taxpayer funding be sought?
The answer can be found with the 2007 "term sheet" agreement that the SEA signed. This contract agreed to the demolition of the Civic Arena three years before conducting its bogus historic review, which also transferred the development rights to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Therefore, the cost of redeveloping the Civic Arena site is the financial responsibility of the Pittsburgh Penguins, not the taxpayers. The Sports & Exhibition Authority's grant application is nothing more than an unconscionable "pass through" grant, continuing the legacy of deceit and pillage of the taxpayers' pockets.
GARY J. ENGLISH
First Published August 21, 2012 12:00 am