Category Archives: Save Fort Pitt

Developers Unearth Old Garbage

“The crew brought out a shortened post and the archaeologist on site blew it off,” Mr. Nixon said. “We found it laying discarded on a rubble pile.”

The ax-hewn timber was part of the original defenses of Fort Pitt, a significant national treasure dating back to the French & Indian War and Pontiac’s Rebellion. All traces of it must now be buried under concrete so as to make way for funnel cake vendors.

Last fall, unidentified human remains were also unearthed at the old battleground, but fortunately the renovations did not pause.

Mr. Nixon works with the Fort Pitt Preservation Society, a radical fringe group that believes a solemn memorial to the fallen heroes of three clashing civilizations could potentially be a greater civic asset than booths for dueling cell-phone providers.

The P-G’s Don Hopey reports that the state conservation department is condescending to use radar technology to map the old wooden fence, revealing the awareness of everyone involved that this is a monstrous idea that future generations will seek to reverse.

Fort Pitt Farts In Our General Direction

The Tribune-Review does a wonderful job with the gas leak emergency, evacuation, and emergency response at Point State Park. Justin Vellucci gives us just the facts, man, and Allison M. Heinrichs frames it in terms of continuing bad karma over the disturbance of the Fort Pitt area.

The Hilton Hotel came out partially against the renovations … not so much because they had to order an evacuation yesterday, but because of the downing of old trees.

By all accounts, the performance of emergency responders and repair crews was superb.

On the television, KDKA’s John Schumway provided good coverage, ending with his report that mud, having collected over weeks working through poor weather conditions, covered up a warning line that would have prevented the ram hoe from impacting the gas line.

Now that bad winter weather has degraded the safety and efficiency of construction, the Comet recommends this is a good time to take pause.

During which time we might finally discuss … many things. For example, the transfer of those power lines, and the businesses they would service, to another venue; maybe some sort of grand outdoor public square, or circle, further inland, but still convenient to Downtown …

Preservation Pittsburgh Defends Ramparts

We’ve been hearing about this new advocacy group Preservation Pittsburgh for a while now, and we’ve been wondering when they were going to get around to Fort Pitt.

A P-G piece has Preservation Pittsburgh offering to mediate between the Fort Pitt Preservation Society, on the one side; and on the other (inhale) the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the Riverlife Task Force, and the Allegheny Conference on Community Development.

We wish them luck, but that equation seems way out of balance.

The Comet had intended to only hyperlink the Good Guys, but heck, with the right application of pressure, any one of these parties could come ’round. So here goes:

The P.A. Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources

The Riverlife Task Force

The Allegheny Conference on Community Development

Give ’em what-for! I mean — be eloquent and respectful!

“An Archeological Treasure is Giving Way to Corndog Stands”

Proving again that historical preservation is an issue that can unite liberals and conservatives, KDKA’s Fred Honsberger recently interviewed John Quigley of the PA Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources LINK, and Michael Nixon and Richard Lang with the Fort Pitt Preservation Society LINK.

When confronted by a “shocked” Hons Man on the propriety of “converting a historical park to carnival use,” Quigley reflexively and repeatedly cited local community input over forty public meetings, “at least one of which” dealt with historical issues. Nixon and Lang later disputed those points, saying the meetings were “by invitation only.” Besides which, no one in their “wildest nightmares” thought Point State Park renovations overseen by state conservation watchdogs would entail such liberal use of bulldozers.

It was remarkable to hear Fred so hung up on the cutting of trees. I’d like to note that there’s a fair chance that George Washington might have been tied to one of those trees, when he was captured by the French.

Active Network Sponsorship

The City of Pittburgh will solicit sponsorship deals with the help of a firm called The Active Network, reports the P-G’s Rich Lord. This assistance will cost the city $75,000 plus 12% of the take.

“We raise revenue without raising taxes,” said Don Schulte, director of The Active Network’s properties division. “This isn’t about signage. It’s about having corporations find ways to give back to the community without being offensive.”

Original Research: Don Schulte was president of the Public Enterprise Group, before that firm was purchased as a division of The Active Network. Some of their work involved selling space on “municipal furniture,” which can include everything from lavatories to parking-space blocks. But the firm seems most proud of their work making Coca-Cola the “Official City Beverage” of Huntington Beach, California. All public vending machines and snack bars now sell only Coke products.

What the Comet finds most interesting is that many Huntington Beach public concerts and events now take place on something called the Coca-Cola Main Stage. It reminds us of the controversial renovations being made for the purposes of providing a larger, better stage at Point State Park. We wonder if this is why the Fort Pitt preservationist objections are being met with “BUDGET … DEADLINES … LA LA LA I CAN’T HEAR YOU!!!”

“Morning” Line: Already in Motion

Save Fort Pitt: The Fort Pitt Preservation Society has concocted a plan that would preserve much of the Music Bastion at Point State Park, yet still provide for a large, flat festival grounds, reports the Trib’s Allison M. Heinrichs.

In what seems to be the first hint of a glimmer of positive news for preservationists, State Sen. Wayne Fontana (D-Brookline) says he will ask the state to look at the plan, saying, “I’m glad (the preservation society) brought something forward. I think their opinions and outlook should be considered. If there is a good compromise plan that will not hurt the (renovation) process, then it certainly should be looked at.”

Meanwhile, the PA Dept. of Preservation, deigning to respond only through email, continues to cite deadlines and budgets. The Riverlife Task Force and Allegheny Conference declined to comment. Heinrichs, now perpetrating like an activist, includes a link www.savefortpitt.org.

Save the Penguins: Lemieux describes his meeting with the Rendell-Onorato-Ravenstahl troika yesterday as “very positive” and says he’s “very optimistic.” But only the Trib’s Andrew Conte & Rob Rossi have found “sources” willing to say the talks went so well, there could be a deal as soon as next week.

The McNeilly Case: Here is how it all allegedy went down, and I use the term “allegedly” as a big, thick wool blanket over all of the following:

Dennis Regan was employed as a prick on behalf of the late Mayor Bob O’Connor. Regan would, for instance, threaten to demote police commanders to beat patrol if they hassled persons or businesses with city-hall-caliber pull. Regan’s girlfriend was city Senior Secretary Marlene Cassidy, whose brother is a certain Officer Francis Rende. Regan “ordered” Police Chief Costa to promote this well-connected girlfriend’s brother to the position of Detective, although Regan, as Operations Director, was outside the purview of Public Safety matters.

Upon his ascension to Mayor, Ravenstahl nominated this useful Regan fellow as his Public Safety Director, which would give such “orders” to the Police Chief considerably more weight. But this is where Police Commander McNeilly intervened, objecting to this rascal Regan’s elevation. Part of her complaint to City Council was Officer Rende’s well-filled, undeserving-of-promition disciplinary file, which revealed Rende’s habit of calling off work “sick” to do side jobs for profit.

Something about the exposure caused Dennis Regan not only to withdraw his nomination for Public Safety Director, but to resign from city employ altogether. Yet Mayor Ravenstahl retaliated by demoting McNeilly to Lieutennant. She is suing to be reinstated as Commander under federal whistle-blower protection.

Today’s P-G coverage by Rich Lord & Paula Reed Ward plays up McNeilly’s admission that she broke rules in revealing details of Officer Rende’s disciplinary record to City Council and others. They have Ravenstahl saying, “My understanding was that Commander McNeilly admitted today that she broke the rules, and I think that says it all. I think that speaks volumes as to why the decision was made to demote her to lieutenant.” Only much later to they have a quote by an ally of McNeilly, which in effect says, “If you want to make an omlet, you have to break some eggs.”