In Replacing Hockey Arena, Pittsburgh's Goal is to Repair Street Grid

When Civic Arena was built in the late 1950's, it severed Pittsburgh's historic Hill District from Downtown, displacing thousands of African American families and businesses. A redevelopment being proposed for the site aims to re-establish the link.
July 8, 2013, 12pm PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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When the Pittsburgh-Allegheny County Sports and Exhibition Authority submits the proposed street grid for a massive redevelopment project planned for the site that used to house Civic Arena - and 8,000 residents and 400 businesses before that - it will try to replicate what was demolished more than 50 years ago, reports Mark Belko.

"Re-creating an exact duplicate is impossible, in part because of modern development standards, said Travis Williams, chief operating officer for the Pittsburgh Penguins hockey team, which holds the development rights to the 28-acre arena site."

"But the idea of re-creating a neighborhood feel with streets that run through it and reconnect Downtown with the middle Hill District is certainly something we're trying to do," he said.

"One Hill District leader criticized the timing of the submission, saying the focus should be on what the community will gain from the redevelopment, not on where the roads should go."

"What they're trying to do is get us to discuss the merits of whether a road should go this way. They want us to get caught up in the weeds," said Carl Redwood, head of the Hill District Consensus Group. "The real question is development for who, and how we will benefit from all of the stuff they're proposing."

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Published on Wednesday, July 3, 2013 in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
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