PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A portion of the Civic Arena roof vanished Saturday when crews brought it down as part of the continuing demolition of the iconic structure.

Demolition of the arena began late last year and work is expected to continue into the spring.

Just seconds after demolition workers took out the structural supports Saturday morning, a 250-ton section of the Civic Arena roof came crashing down to the floor of the building.

“It floated down; it didn’t sudden impact. Couldn’t ask for a better drop the way it turned out,” said George Boehm, of Noralco Corp.

There’s not much left inside the 51-year-old arena, the skyboxes are gone along with most of the seats.

It was the first of eight sections of the roof that will be taken down.

Plans to demolish the arena have been going on for months now, but witnessing the event brought back a lot of memories.

“It’s progress, right? It’s a good thing. I saw amazing hockey games and concerts in this building,” said Bobbi Jamriska, a spectator watching the demolition today. “It does make me a little sad, but I think it’s for the best.”

KDKA’s Bob Allen reports:

“Sorry to see the Civic Arena go down in a sense because all of us as Pittsburghers have sentimental memories,” Jules Matthews, of Hill House Economic Development Corp., added.

If the weather cooperates, the remaining steel structure and roof will come down in about a month. Then, demolition will continue on the rest of the building until what was once known as the Civic Arena will be bare ground.

The debate on what will replace the arena has already started. The Pittsburgh Penguins have development rights to the 28-acre site.

Several community groups and organizations are calling for a plan that makes up for the wrongs they say were done when homes and businesses were taken to build the arena.

“A balanced neighborhood that allows for families that had to move away, that they can move back, that it’s affordable,” said Matthews.

Raw Video:

(Video Courtesy: KDKA Photojournalist Steve Willing)

“I think it’s time to move forward and figure out the best way that we can redevelop this area, so it benefits the whole City of Pittsburgh, and welcomes back the residents of the Hill District who have been forced out over many years,” said Stephan Glassman, of the Community Design Center of Pittsburgh.

No timetable has been set for finalizing an arena site redevelopment plan. In the meantime, roof demolition will continue in the coming weeks.

The former home of the Penguins opened in 1961.

Demolition Of Civic Arena Begins (9/26/11)
Crews Offer Look Inside Civic Arena As Demolition Continues (9/29/11)
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