Seating dispute leads Steelers, stadium owner to court
By Jeremy Boren
Published: Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012, 11:50 a.m.
Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said Thursday a nearly $40 million proposal to add 3,000 seats, a video scoreboard and other fan amenities to Heinz Field can be salvaged despite a court battle between the Steelers and the stadium's owner, the Sports & Exhibition Authority.
“There is common ground to be found. We've always found a way to get these things done,” Ravenstahl said in his first comments since the Steelers filed a notice Oct. 31 of its intent to sue the authority. “I hate that it's gotten to a point where it's in court now.”
Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Joseph James set a court hearing for 10 a.m. Nov. 19.
“What we need to do is come to an agreement that this is good for everybody, and then find a way to pay for it,” Ravenstahl said.
The dispute focuses on who pays and how much.
Steelers officials contend the authority is violating the team's 30-year stadium lease by refusing to pay two-thirds of the proposed expansion. The work would add the seats to the south end zone; a video scoreboard in the north end so fans in the new seats can see the board; a club level; concession areas; and an elevated concourse.
The taxpayer-funded SEA said it is willing to contribute, but at a lower, unspecified level.
Ravenstahl said the Steelers have complained during negotiations that the SEA failed to set aside enough money for “routine maintenance” of the stadium.
“Quite honestly, the authority probably hasn't done (that) to the extent that it agreed to in the lease,” Ravenstahl said.
SEA Executive Director Mary Conturo declined to discuss the planned hearing or the case.
The Steelers have proposed a surcharge combination of $1 per ticket and $2-$3 on parking that fans would pay toward the expansion. The North Shore's main parking lot operator, Alco Parking Corp., opposes such surcharges, though President Merrill Stabile has said Alco may increase parking rates next season on its own.
Ravenstahl said spending tax dollars on the stadium expansion is warranted because the additional seats would generate more tax revenue from ticket, parking and concession sales. He said that a larger stadium would benefit North Shore restaurants and bars that attract patrons during from home-game crowds at least eight times a season.
Jeremy Boren is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7935 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers still have something worth playing for
- Penguins’ Orpik taken off ice on stretcher in loss to Bruins
- Rossi: Penguins’ Orpik among select NHLers going without gluten
- Breaking down the Pirates’ needs entering winter meetings
- Kovacevic: On Melancon, Mandela, molding
- Investors put squeeze on prospective homeowners’ American dreams
- REVIEW: Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s ‘Nutcracker’ dancers exquisitely captivating in Christmas story
- Hunter dies in apparent Cambria hunting accident
- Restaurateur’s roots planted in Mon Valley
- Baby Penguins notebook: Goaltenders find their places in system
- Penguins have never been better on power play