Monday, February 5, 2007

Preservation or Bowlderization?

When we read this lede graph by the Trib's Justin Vellucci, we got really psyched:

The blast furnaces at the Carrie Furnace site will be part of a museum that will be built on the property. The blast furnaces and a massive blowing engine house were recently named historic landmarks.

Awesome! If its on the order of the Fort Pitt Museum, or the Heinz History Center, that will be entirely unique. A "Steel Heritage" museum? A museum of capitalism, basically? Pittsburghers are so ingrained from birth that they're from a steel town, they often forget to investigate just what that means.

Then came the comparisons to the Waterfront, with the claim that it "proves struggling communities can grow through investments linked to new development." Walk fifty yards south of the Waterfront, and tell me more about growth and linkages.

"We have no interest at all to put any big-box retail at the (Carrie Furnace) site. It's not needed," said Dennis M. Davin, the county's director of economic development. "We don't want to develop sites just to develop sites or just (to) move offices around."

This kind of talk is encouraging. The development is supposed to be light industrial and office parks, and it is a public-private partnership that seems awful weighted towards public, at least until the rights are sold. The devil will most certainly be in the details (see below), but on balance we're pretty excited.

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