PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Pittsburgh City Councilman Daniel Lavelle says the Civic Arena development loped off a third of the Hill District in the name of urban renewal and owes the neighborhood a debt.
“We do have an economic benefit that has been owed to the Hill district for decades,” he said.
Lavelle proposes that 50 percent of all new parking taxes at the site go to economic development in the Hill.
Some council members like Bill Peduto gave that a lukewarm reception Wednesday saying that if the measure passes, every neighborhood will want its own share.
“We won’t be able to have a police force, we won’t be able to have a public works department, we won’t be able to take care of the basics because every neighborhood is going to ask for a special project,” he said.
Councilman Ricky Burgess voiced support.
“When we begin to talk about getting funds to low and moderate income communities, there’s always a problem with that,” he said.
But current projects in the Hill are stalled. One million dollars has gone into the Granada Theatre but that redevelopment is on hold.
And although the Hill House broke ground a year ago on a new grocery store, it’s is still a pile of dirt.
A former employee of has sued the Hill House saying money earmarked for the $8.5 million project was misappropriated and that she was fired for blowing the whistle.
“She brought that to the attention of the board and she was fired within days after that,” Sam Cordes, an attorney, said.
Andy Sheehan: “Some people would say, ‘Oh, you’re throwing good money after bad.’”
Lavelle: “No, I think we’re throwing great money after good money that’s already been invested.”