Wilson Center mistakes
By The Tribune-Review
Published: Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
The “Diligence lacking” item in “Tuesday takes” questioned whether the August Wilson Center “ever should ever been built.” The answer is simple.
In 1996, the Heinz History Center opened. The following year, the NAACP held its national conference in Pittsburgh and planted the thought of creating a black history center. Was this idea too much in excess? Or maybe the Heinz History Center failed to adequately represent the black community, creating the desire for its own?
Then politics engaged; $17.4 million in public funding resulted in property acquisition, construction and operation costs. The fiscal plan was doomed to fail. The center's appeal was focused on just 13.4 percent of Allegheny County's population, composed of blacks, and a percentage of that segment that would support the facility on a regular basis. The figures didn't add up.
Allegheny County Councilman William Robinson said saving the center “is in everybody's best interest.” But that would take more public money he was trying to earmark.
Conservator Judith Fitzgerald, former U.S. bankruptcy judge, recommended liquidation. She also made the plea, “I will listen to any and all reasonable proposals ... to keep the center here.”
I made a similar plea two years ago. I suggested that County Council and Robinson merge the two history centers under the Civic Arena dome. The collaboration would have boosted shared attendance, expanded exhibit capacity, returned two properties to the tax rolls and placed the August Wilson Center in the heart of the lower Hill District, where black history took place. All these points fell on deaf ears and government continues to repeat the mistakes of the past, destroying history and building boondoggles at our expense.
Gary J. English
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.
- Ruling good for Pa.
- Imam’s thoughts
- Voting rights bill The League …
- Touching film
- Bloomberg & coal
- Kiski board ignores taxpayers
- A medical lifeline
- Shortchanging military
- School staffers’ challenge
- Sprinklers needed