Thursday, July 3, 2008

Thursday: Handling Invasive Species

The arena's owner, the city-county Sports & Exhibition Authority, authorized payments of $52.57 million spread among five contracts to begin clearing part of the 28-acre site within three weeks and excavating land along Centre Avenue in the Hill District next month. (Trib, Jeremy Boren)

You know, that's right. The owner of this building is the SEA. Not Sydney Crosby.

Conturo said two of the contracts -- awarded to Noralco Corp. and Brayman Construction Corp. -- cover earth excavation and installation of concrete caissons, respectively.

Well well well.

Unconfirmed rumor: The Planning Commission still has to do "some stuff" regarding Our Arena, rendering these contracts a mite unorthodox.

Confirmed rumor: There is no CBA in place, there is no reason to expect one right around the corner, and at this point there will be little cause for optimism the next time there is cause for optimism.

Now, check this mad balance:

Separately, the SEA sold an empty lot on the North Shore for $500,000 to hotel developer Kratsa Properties, which plans to build a 10-story, 135-room Holiday Inn Express near the intersection of Federal and Lacock streets.

Looking at the map, we can't say this looks or sounds like a bad idea. Way to go, government infrastructure!

The site is across the street from the Kratsa-built SpringHill Suites hotel adjacent to PNC Park and just a short walk from another Kratsa development, a Residence Inn now under construction. (P-G, Mark Belko)

Oh. Atlantic, Ventnor, and Marvin Gardens, eh?

It is devilishly awkward territory, with the I-279 overpass, the railroad bridge, and the hustle and bustle of nearby Allegheny Center. Maybe it's not the worst place in the world to turn into Breezewood -- albeit a socialist, anti-competitive Breezewood.


The big everything is here: (P-G, Mark Belko)

Here is a small, bite-sized something:

"I am concerned about the proposed delay of the construction of the dock and access paths and on the long-term impact of certain design changes requested" at yesterday's City Planning Commission meeting, the mayor wrote. "I am not willing to compromise the development in a way that negatively impacts the riverfront and the City. It is my responsibility to ensure that the City of Pittsburgh and its citizens receive what was originally promised to us." (P-G, Rich Lord)

Huh. Nailed the tone, botched the message.

It is his responsibility to ensure that the City of Pittsburgh and its citizens receive an all-around great development, and the best possible one available to us moving forward. This may not be achievable through warfare / bickering.

Saber-rattling is one thing. Lines in the sand? Potentially counterproductive.


Weeds are taking over some city streets and sidewalks. (Trib, Adam Brandolph)

Way to lunge for the soft, partially-exposed underbelly, Adam Brandolph!

The mayor's office cannot provide how much money the city spends each year on vegetation management, said Joanna Doven, spokeswoman for Mayor Luke Ravenstahl.

Never any luck, this one.

PennDOT District 11, which covers Allegheny, Beaver and Lawrence counties, received $725,000 from the state for weed, grass and tree management during the 2006-07 fiscal year, spokeswoman Erin Waters said. That included $280,000 for herbicide and $188,000 for mowing. Overall, PennDOT spent $24.2 million on roadside upkeep during that period, Waters said.

See what we mean?

"So much for keeping it up for the (city's) 250th anniversary," said Susan Smith, 38, of Reading, who was walking along the Allegheny River near the Point. "Otherwise, the city looks great."

So we are verdant. So what. Can we get any sauce for this goose?

The city has fought to contain Japanese knotweed, in particular, [Public Works director Guy] Costa said.

The weed sprouts flowers, making it look pleasing and leaving some people to let it grow, [Nancy] Knauss [of Phipps Convservatory] said.

"But it will actually take over and wipe out every other plant in its way," she said.

Pictured above. You see it, you KILL IT!!!!!


Fly that flag: Independence Day is Friday. This great nation of ours turns 232 years old. If you've been a tardy flag flier, there's no better time than tomorrow to break out Old Glory and let her exercise her stars and strips in a nice breeze. Indeed, enjoy the long holiday weekend. But take more than a few moments to commemorate the founding of the greatest experiment in self-governance in the history of the planet. (Trib, Edit Board)

We'll drink to that.


  1. Just TRY to kill Japanese knotweed. We have been trying to get rid of it next to the garage for YEARS. It is unaffected by all types of weed killers, clorox, and boiling water. Chopping at it makes it spread. Too bad its not edible or we could feed the starving millions around the world.......

  2. All things being equal, I got to imagine ripping up as much as you can, bagging it up and tossing it will at least mitigate the amount of pollination that is going to be out there.

    What Japanese animals eat the knotweed? I say we look at the whole list and pick the one that seems least likely to kill us also.