Basically, the Hill CDC employed its ability to slow down development over a very legitimate issue — most likely, the City’s compliance with the Fair Housing Act. Having taken it seriously and gone to the mat for it, the City and the Penguins returned to the table with agreeable terms before getting bogged down in court. Now, everybody is cool and we’re about to see a host of investments explode up the gut of the Lower Hill and out east, like a tailback breaking into the secondary.
What additional did “the community” get, at the 11th hour?
- Concessions on building heights, parking policy and similar, as well as a host of firmer definitions to provide legal accountability.
- A trained set of eyes reasonably well under community control to monitor the Penguins’ compliance as to “commercially reasonable,” best-faith efforts to meet community workforce development, business development and affordable housing targets.
- A new task force comprised of genuine heavies chaired by Councilman Daniel Lavelle charged with recommending a citywide strategy to provide for affordable and dignified housing, about which a needs study is being commissioned.
The reinvestment funding from the LERTA district was alongside this even beforehand; at least that was my understanding. But now it’s officially leveraging towards affordability.
That’s really about it, in terms of the deal which tore down that wall. Everybody sounds satisfied and guardedly optimistic. Time to rock and roll, as they say…
And that’s exactly how Pittsburgh rolls. Players compete hard down to some manner of standoff, then come together as friendly neighbors once it gets imperative. In this particular case, a broad base of community leaders, the URA and the Penguins enjoyed the creative space necessary to realize a big opportunity to greater potential.
Now the only question is what organizations will follow the lead of US Steel, which maintained its reserved confidence throughout? That is some deep karma, newly replenished and in a sexy market. Eat up. Even upon flashpoints related to public safety, all sorts of horizons are being elevated. Grab onto Pittsburgh while it’s still at the Mezzanine Level.
MORE: PGHMag’s Patrick Doyle.
Now let’s move on to something more crucial: Undercover Bossgate.
Ms. Wagner said she’s hopeful the board will not approve the second set of funds.
“If that’s not the decision, we’ll be back,” she said, adding that she would not rule out the possibility of withholding another disbursement. (P-G, Molly Born)
The Comet views this as an exquisite unfolding case study. “Behold, the lapse in judgement.” And a relatively minor one at that! But what are its results?
- We mothball some legitimate tools, to the extent Mayor Peduto now recoils in aversion from trying something like that reality show again. Which is a shame, because audiences seemed to think it played well for the City in general.
- It complicates conversations about making a valuable civic partnership like Visit Pittsburgh even more strategic and efficient — a subject about which I’m still waiting for Jim Ferlo to come in like a wrecking ball.
- It feeds shrewd airwaves jockeys like Marty Griffin, who chum the waters and climb chaos like a ladder — which is rarely good for business.
Meanwhile, the Comet is a big fan of what County Controller Chelsa Wagner is looking into at the County jail and elsewhere. But increasingly, it’s hard to follow along without hearing the baseline from the soundtrack to House of Cards in the background. That smog of war now spreads and thickens.
Seemingly all because the Mayor was a bit cavalier and unprepared in how he seized an exciting and multi-faceted opportunity. Instead he might have first sought an advisory on how to handle promotional giveaways. Sure, it’s better to beg forgiveness than to ask permission — but what’s best is a process which includes hearing out a diversity of independence and experience. Then everybody can relax!
HOMEWORK: Very little. On the School District, reread the P-G’s Eleanor Chute.
EXTRA CREDIT: If you have any idea why the “Turnaround Teachers” career ladder has not been implemented, please explain!
ERRATA: Wondering over former Pa. Treasurer, Rob McCord? A think-piece by PennLive’s John L. Micek provides fodder, and leaves a mark.