PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A crowd of Bloomfield residents — including Sue Sciullo, mother of slain police officer Paul Sciullo — showed up at a Pittsburgh Zoning Appeal Board hearing Thursday afternoon to object to something, they say, UPMC concealed in their original plans to build a 1,000-space parking garage in their neighborhood.
“Location is too close for our safety in case something happens,” resident Tracy Randall told the Board.
That something is an electrical transformer that a master plan artist rendering shows only as a concrete slab amidst pine trees.
In order to build their new garage in the valley, UPMC had to disrupt the natural habitat of a hillside, including the removal of trees.
But what really disturbs local residents is the fact that UPMC wants to put a transformer just across the street from neighbors.
Adjacent to 300 residences, UPMC wants to build an electrical transformer to power their new garage.
“A 4-foot by 8-foot by 8-foot transformer that’s as close as they could put it to a city sidewalk, within inches,” says Pittsburgh councilwoman Deborah Gross, who represents the area.
Gross says UPMC has eight acres on the site to relocate away from homes but, so far, refuses to do so.
In a statement, UPMC said it would evaluate the community’s concerns before moving further on the transformer’s placement.
Justin and Victoria Huston, who live in the home right across the street, are worried.
“It’s very close to our house,” said Victoria. “It’s a big safety issue, especially since we were planning to stay there and raising children there.”
And neighbors worry that politics means UPMC gets its way.
“I would just ask that you consider the needs of the many,” resident Ashley Lively asked the Board, “and I understand the politics that go into it. UPMC, you’re a big player.”
No decision is expected for at least 45 days.