CECIL TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — A retired engineer has an unusual idea for the Civic Arena.
Tom Galownia says why not take apart the arena and move it somewhere else?
“It’s a piece of cake,” he said.
The idea came to him after a meeting where he heard from people who live in the Hill who remember the arena as something that devoured much of the Lower Hill.
“The Hill District residents – it was kind of obvious they did not want this in their home and I could really sympathize with them,” he said.
But to save what is a Pittsburgh icon to others, Galownia proposes picking up the Igloo’s dome and moving it.
“A 500-ton crane will pick them up,” he said. “You take a 500-ton crane, pick up each section, sit it down.”
He says each section would then have to be cut up.
“Put them in the river and on the barges and you’re home free!”
Architect Rob Pfaffman, who is leading a group to preserve the arena, gave his perspective.
“Deconstructing the building and then trying to reassemble it again would be a huge expensive proposition,” he said. “It’s possible, but it would outstrip the cost of renovation in place by two or three times at least.”
Galownia estimates it could cost $50 million to $100 million to move it, plus the cost of building a new basin for it to sit on.
He has emailed places he thought might want it, but so far, he has not received a response.
Meantime, the Sports and Exhibition Authority is moving forward with plans to tear it down, despite the fact that City Council has yet to vote on whether to give it historic status.