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Preservation Pittsburgh asks for expedited hearing on Igloo appeal

The Igloo could make its final entry in the history books starting at 6 a.m. Monday unless a federal appeals court grants Preservation Pittsburgh's request for an expedited hearing aimed at stopping demolition.

A federal judge's 10-day stay on the wrecking ball expired on Thursday.

In response to the group's request for an emergency injunction to stop the demolition, the Sports & Exhibition Authority filed a letter with the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Thursday saying it intends to begin tearing down the exterior of the Civic Arena next week.

Preservation Pittsburgh's basic claim is that the authority's demolition plan violates the National Historic Preservation Act because the agency has sought federal highway funding to help in the site's redevelopment. U.S. District Judge David Cercone ruled on Sept. 9 that since no federal agency or funding was involved in the project to demolish the arena and redevelop the site, he didn't have jurisdiction to stop demolition.

Cercone issued the 10-day stay on Sept. 12 so the group could appeal his ruling. The group claims in its motion for the emergency injunction that Cercone ignored evidence that the authority "closely coordinated" its efforts with the Federal Highway Administration in a so-far unsuccessful attempt to get federal funding for the redevelopment.

The group wants the appeals court to halt demolition while it pursues legal efforts to save the arena.

The authority hadn't filed its response to the emergency injunction request by yesterday evening, but Samuel Braver, the lawyer representing the authority, said the response would be filed before midnight.

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