Several City Council members said they would be more comfortable if the development came with a community benefit, such as a buffer-zone park and recreation area. (P-G, Diana Nelson Jones)
Councilman William Peduto* said the city owns land at Parkway Center and could create a buffer for Ridgemont residents. "I support the people who have stuck it out all these years," he said of Ridgemont residents. "Sometimes the best development is the one that never happens." (ibid; see also Trib, Jeremy Boren)
It's amazing how progressive this city can be about forcefully demanding that benefits for surrounding communities arrive in tandem with new development, when...
A) The developers have nothing to do with sports teams,
B) The community resistance has a cute name,
C) It employs adorable spokespeople, and...
D) Is white.
Think I'm going too far there?
The "lazy, greedy, asking-for-handouts, you-all-should-be-more-concerned-about-parents-who-don't-care-about-their-childrens'-education" position has been an indispensable part of the counterargument against seriously considering community benefits for the Hill District and the North Side. It used to be more explicit on the local Internet, until this post, but it's still being made equally explicit just about everywhere else.
I'm not begrudging Chicken Hill and its small town America / Bruce Springsteen vibe its victory. I'm just encouraging everybody involved to take this inspiration and apply it elsewhere -- perhaps where it would actually bring the maximum, um, benefit.
The point was made what an impact an 8-story building has on a single city street in Ridgemont. How much more impact does a master plan including stadiums, hotels, restaurants, offices and carnival tents have on directly adjoining neighborhoods, and how much more carefulness and community benefit must be employed? The residents of Manchester for example have been "sticking it out" all these years in their own Pittsburgh community, too.
*-CLARIFICATION: My juxtaposition of Councilman Peduto's quote and my editorial on the record of the City as a whole unintentionally may have left impressions that I was calling Peduto himself onto the carpet for inconsistency.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Mr. Peduto has been most consistent of all in supporting CBAs for developments anywhere, as evidenced by the fact that he took an early stand for a CBA in conjunction with Steelers / Continental developments -- and for that very reason got himself ejected from the Stadium Authority. My sincere apologies for being unclear.