Wednesday, August 25, 2010


It was great to hear that Penguins President, David Morehouse, was booed during a meeting that was held to determine the fate of the Civic Arena. My sentiments exactly, Dave.

ABOVE: Penguins President David Morehouse is shocked and mortified that he is being booed by Pittsburghers. Imagine that? Pittsburghers are upset that he wants to tear down a symbol of Pittsburgh! Shame on you Pittsburgh Penguins, your greed is appalling.

The Penguins, already beneficiaries of untold millions in cash and the complete adoration of a city, appear now to literally look the part of a pig at a trough. It's not enough that they got their arena, now they want to tear down the old one for some wonderful new mall or whatever. The audacity of them wanting to tear down this major Pittsburgh landmark is simply appalling.

Thank goodness that the cavalry is on the rise. A group called "Reuse the Igloo" has floated architectural plans and organized a campaign to stop the Penguin wrecking ball (Mark Recchi has nothing to do with this by the way). The amazing part of this story is that none of the brilliant minds on Grant Street or even at the Penguins new lush headquarters had the foresight to consider the major public relations points that could have been scored by proposing an alternate use for the venerable old building. 

ABOVE: This is a pig trough. Notice the uncanny similarity to the Civic Arena (minus the dome of course).
BELOW: Morehouse, Ravenstahl and crew ready to chow down on the arena site.

Morehouse pointed out at the meeting how many stadiums and arenas have been built in America and how many more have been torn down. Good for them! None of these had the character, stainless steel dome nor most importantly the iconic value that the Civic Arena has. So who cares if they were torn down? It's a good thing that Morehouse's logic wasn't used in Rome, or they would have torn down the Coliseum too! That's valuable property after all! It needs to be razed and redeveloped!!! Right.

The Civic Arena is different.

If you were to go to Houston and visit the Houston Astrodome, for example, you would find that that venerable, ground-breaking structure has now been converted into a church that seats tens of thousands. It was not torn down. Obviously Morehouse has never visited Houston. Perhaps he forgot to include the Astrodome in his torn down stadium statistics?

It bears mentioning too that we're talking about a structure that has a unique dome structure, that's not in the process of falling down and which could most certainly be converted into any number of very interesting alternate uses that would generate tax revenue in themselves and not necessitate killing off one of this city's treasures.

I'm usually 100% on board with whatever Mario and the Penguins do, but in this case, they have left me completely cold. They are wayyyyy off base on this one. They simply look greedy, there's no other way to put it. Hey, didn't you guys just get a new building of your own? Why wouldn't you want to preserve your own legacy to boot?

Just imagine: It's the opening night of NBC's Stanley Cup telecast. The opening shot is the illuminated Civic Arena. It looks like a postcard of Pittsburgh: "They used to play hockey in this venerable old building. Today it's a hotel and houses many new retail shops and a park in a brilliant reuse of an old space by the city." (camera shifts to Consol Energy Arena) "But if you want to watch hockey in Pittsburgh today you'll need a ticket for the new Consol Energy Center, one of the most spectacular new sports venues in the country...."

That's how I want this city represented in the media. Not with some mall designed to make a lot of Grant Streeters and Penguins execs rich. The businesses can come, but they'll have to come in deference to the arena, not in place of the arena. It's totally wrong to even think about demolishing that building.

Check out this link for some fabulous ideas being developed by people who have a brain and are not just trying to squeeze whatever dollars they can out of that property to line their own pockets. Mario Lemieux I expected more from you.