Representatives of the Hill District, the city of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County and the Penguins have found consensus around "the framework for a tentative agreement" on guaranteed benefits to the neighborhood in conjunction with a new arena, city Chief of Staff Yarone Zober said today. (P-G, Rich Lord)
Not Carl Redwood. Not Tonya Payne. Not Luke Ravenstahl. Not Dan Onorato. Yarone Zober.
"People are very optimistic," Mr. Zober said.
More details in tomorrow's Post-Gazette.
UPDATE: More details...
"This is a historic event, actually," said Carl Redwood Jr., chairman of the One Hill Community Benefits Agreement Association. (P-G, Majors and Lord)
All right! Now we're getting somewhere.
But Mr. Redwood cautioned, "We don't have an agreement yet. We'll be working out a number of other items, and we look to the very near future to bring a tentative agreement back to the residents."
Would you say that you're about 95% of the way there? :-)
You go get 'em, Carl.
Yarone Zober, the mayor's chief of staff, characterized the keys to yesterday's announcement as a corporate-backed Hill development push and the creation of a job and social services center near the Hill House.
This does not impress, in itself.
Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, county Chief Executive Dan Onorato and Penguins officials have begun approaching corporate leaders about their participation in a Neighborhood Partnership Program that would provide state tax credits to companies in return for development aid to the Hill.
This is conceivably interesting, depending upon how the development dollars are to be controlled.
If it is to be controlled responsibly and representationally, with a minimum of political influence, the Comet will do everything within its capacity to assist the city and the county in appeals to the region.
Negotiations between the parties at the Downtown headquarters of the Sports & Exhibition Authority that ended around 5:30 p.m. nailed down the key planks of the agreement, which now goes back to the One Hill Community Benefits Coalition for approval and likely modifications.
Like we said, you go get 'em, Carl. You go get 'em, Bomani. You go get 'em, everybody in that room. Don't forget to secure some impact on the master plan!
And let us not forget that the Hill Faith and Justice Alliance (the other of the "two groups") is to be given an opportunity to sign-off on any agreement as well.
"This will be a win-win for the Hill District and the Penguins," said former NAACP President Tim Stevens, who described the difficult negotiations as "a birthing process for economic freedom for the Hill."
We are heartily encouraged by this statement from Mr. Stevens. It is duly noted that we are still the labor process, but we are encouraged.
Mr. Redwood decried recent development in the city that has been blind to the communities affected.
"The way development has been done has not been done in the interest of the community and the public," he said, citing examples such as a new electronic billboard sign being built Downtown.
"We really need to change that in every neighborhood, not just in the Hill. [We can't have] corporations get favors and subsidies from the government without giving back to the community."
UPDATE THE DEUX:
The progress in talks was enough to stop a planned protest march by an estimated 75 Hill District residents and labor activists from Freedom Corner to the Mellon Arena, site of an NHL playoff game between the Penguins and Ottawa Senators. (Trib, Carl Prine)
Glad to be able to avoid this for now. Let's go Pens.