Civic Arena demolition gets judge's approval
A federal judge on Friday moved the Igloo one step closer to demolition, but the battle to save the building is not over.
U.S. District Judge David Cercone threw out a lawsuit that a preservation group filed in an attempt to save the Civic Arena. Preservation Pittsburgh said it would appeal the decision.
The group sued seven local and federal officials on July 7 in an attempt to stop the planned demolition. It asked a judge to block demolition on the grounds that tearing down the arena violates the National Historic Preservation Act by using federal highway money to redevelop the 28-acre site.
The judge disagreed.
"Plaintiff has failed to convince this court that there is any federal involvement with the Civic Arena demolition and redevelopment project," Cercone wrote.
Attorneys for Preservation Pittsburgh filed a request yesterday with Cercone seeking an order to halt any demolition plans while they appeal.
"Obviously we're disappointed. We really wanted to have our day in court," said Scott Leib, head of Preservation Pittsburgh."There's no political will to do something with our iconic Civic Arena. It really is a sad day in Pittsburgh."
The city-county Sports & Exhibition Authority, which owns the building, has voted to demolish the building since it opened the Consol Energy Center across Centre Avenue. A contract with the Penguins gives the team development rights to the arena site.
"We're very pleased with the court's decision, and we're gratified the court accepted the legal arguments we put forward," said Mary Conturo, executive director of the authority.
She said crews have been removing asbestos from inside the arena and next will remove asbestos from the roof panels.
"There is no order of court that prevents us from moving forward," Conturo said. "Our intention is to proceed under the normal course of demolition."
The lawsuit named her as a defendant along with Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato.
The judge's decision to toss out the lawsuit "is good news to hear," Ravenstahl's press secretary Joanna Doven said. "It's very important to have it demolished so that development can occur and that Pittsburgh's Third Renaissance continues into the Hill District."
Representatives for the Penguins have said the 50-year-old arena would impede development efforts.
Preservation Pittsburgh claimed in its lawsuit that because federal money is involved in rebuilding the street grid of the Lower Hill District, the Federal Highway Administration, by law, is required to "consider the impacts of the project on historic and natural resources."
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.
- Q&A: New coach Johnston feeling at home with Penguins
- Penguins sign Despres to 2-year deal
- Recchi rejoins Pens, this time as a coach
- Despite management change, familiarity reigns for Penguins prospects
- Penguins notebook: Kapanen shines in scrimmage
- Stockpiling talented forwards becomes a priority for Penguins
- Young Penguins defensemen hope to make impact at NHL level
- Penguins goaltending prospect Jarry is showing promise in net
- Pens organization’s coaches, players using camp to get on same page
- Penguins notebook: Annual development camp scrimmage slated for Saturday