(Photo credit Agent Ska)
Mr. Onorato said he wants any potential development to restore the grid from the Hill District to Downtown that stops now at the parking lot for Mellon Arena. He said the arena acts like a wall separating the neighborhood from Downtown.
"Once you do that, the Hill District becomes part of Downtown again," he said.
Post Gazette, 3/15/07: Hill District has its say on arena development. Hat tip goes to Onorato 2007: Leading Our Region's Renewal.
It was the very first news article to appear on his campaign website.
Onorato's complete Cometesque remarks can be found at WTAE.
"My whole goal of today's meeting was, really, to figure out how do we develop the 28 acres, and how do we have that development spin up the hill to get more benefit outside the 28 acres and to have the input from the community all at the same time?" said Onorato. "And to do that at the front-end of the project, that's my goal. To make sure development happens and we reconnect the Hill to Downtown."
"There was a time those roads came into town," said Onorato. "You've got to reconnect that grid. Once you do that, the Hill District becomes part of Downtown, becomes part of the city again."
What exactly happened to diminish both the County Exec's role and expectations? Was it pressure from the contractors posturing as sports fans, who demanded of him "Mr. Onorato -- put up that wall!"?
Or was this only a matter of securing reelection and moving on?
UPDATE: Or was he, like so many others, simply at a loss?
"I'm not sure what it is that the city can do except ask the Penguins to come back to the table," said Councilwoman Tonya Payne, who represents the Hill. (Trib, Jeremy Boren)
Figure no one is in a better position than Tonya Payne to do just that.
If Payne is not at least seen to be doing everything she can, we all know that Sala Udin and his henchmen will use this to attack her, and probably unseat her. Payne will need to make a move eventually, as One Hill is in no mood to hold any more upbeat press conferences, and both factions of Hill District residents are uniting around the idea that they will require a different kind of political leadership moving forward.