Over a year ago AWCC unanimously passed a resolution (with one abstention) opposing movement of the Allegheny Library from its present Allegheny Center location. At the City Council public hearing on December 18, 2007, AWCC provided testimony against the move. At the January 2008 AWCC general member meeting, a motion was unanimously approved for AWCC to send a letter to the RAD Board (it provides most of the library's funding) requesting that the RAD Board require the Carnegie Library to expeditiously reopen the library in the existing building, regardless of whether the library should eventually be moved, since the lightning damage was completely repaired in May 2007 and it is now able to be used again.
When the February AWCC meeting ran long, an agenda item on the library was not considered. AWCC member David Tessitor, who hosts AlleghenyLibrary.org, a website containing more information about the library issue, explains:
"The prospective move has hit a snag and the URA has not yet turned over the old Sunoco property on Federal Street to the Library. The Library Board, the URA, and the City ignored critical state and Federal laws and regulations that protect historic resources. The URA is now attempting to comply with these, after the fact, hoping it can do so and transfer the property by late April.
"Whenever an action could adversely impact a historic resource, as would moving the library out of its historic building, state law requires an extensive process, mandating consultation with preservation agencies and participation of local community groups, such as Allegheny West Civic Council. Federal law requires a detailed alternatives analysis to determine if there is a better alternative that is feasible and prudent (e.g. reusing the existing building). Neither was done. The regulations specifically stipulate that after a decision is made (as with the library move), these cannot be done retroactively (as the URA is now attempting to do), because that decision irreparably prejudices the required considerations. This jeopardizes the move and makes it crucial that AWCC be fully included in the process at this time."
Mr. Tessitor will move at the AWCC March meeting that "AWCC send a letter to the URA and to the appropriate City, State, and Federal agencies requesting that AWCC be identified and named as an interested party and stakeholder for inclusion and participation in, and to receive notification of, all present and future consultations, considerations, and actions concerning the prospective library move." [The motion was approved 15 to 2 with 2 abstentions at the March 11, 2008 AWCC membership meeting.]
Those who are concerned with this issue should also note that the next RAD Board meeting will be March 31, 2008, 4pm on the 23rd floor of the Regional Enterprise Tower, 425 Sixth Avenue, Downtown. Mr. Tessitor will be circulating petitions beforehand and will present them. He encourages others to attend and provide comment. Anybody wishing to address the RAD Board must register to speak no later than 10:30am on the day of the meeting by emailing email@example.com or calling (412) 227-1900.
To learn what else residents can do, you can go to AlleghenyLibrary.org or call David Tessitor at (412) 853-6577.