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Hill District group to present demands to Pens' officials

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

A group of Hill District residents and church leaders who want a share of the revenues from a new Penguins arena and guaranteed jobs for minorities plans to meet Friday with team officials for the first time.

"I think it's fair and reasonable to talk about minority participation and representation," said Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, who plans to attend the meeting along with Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato. "And I think their expectation of a certain amount of dollars invested in the community (for development) is fair. Now, we may disagree on what that means."

The city-county Sports & Exhibition Authority is expected to host the meeting at its offices in the Regional Enterprise Tower, Downtown.

SEA Executive Director Mary Conturo could not be reached for comment.

The meeting would be the first between the Penguins and the Hill District group, led by state Rep. Jake Wheatley, D-Hill District; the Rev. Johnnie Monroe, pastor of Grace Memorial Presbyterian Church; and Hill District resident Marimba Milliones.

The Hill District-based group, which doesn't have a formal name, has talked previously with Ravenstahl, Onorato and Conturo.

Milliones and Monroe have said they want the SEA and the Penguins to provide the Hill District with $10 million for development and an annual share of revenues from the planned $290 million arena. They also want 30 percent of the jobs related to the arena's construction and surrounding development to go to minorities.

The Hill District residents hope to make their demands part of the 30-year arena lease agreement that's still being negotiated between the SEA and the Penguins.

Gov. Ed Rendell has said the lead agreement would be completed April 13, but a spokesman said last week that the date was not a hard deadline and that lease talks are progressing.




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