Statement before the Glenn A. Walsh
Council of P.O. Box 1041
The City of Pittsburgh PA 15230-1041 U.S.A.
Pittsburgh: Telephone: 412-561-7876
Hazelwood Branch Bldg., Blog: < http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com >
Carnegie Library 2016 July 20
Good morning, I am Glenn A. Walsh, 633 Royce Avenue, Mt. Lebanon. Today I am speaking as a private citizen representing no organization.
I support reuse of the historic Hazelwood Library building, including the large auditorium. However, I oppose Bill 614 which would allow the City of Pittsburgh to sell-off the historic structure.
Bill 614 specifically states: “…conveying AS IS all of the City's right, title and interest, if any, in designated City-owned properties to the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh ("URA") for consideration of $1.00 each…” Once this conveyance occurs, the City of Pittsburgh, and the people’s duly-elected representatives in this Council, no longer have any control over what happens to the building.
If the building is sold to a third party, there is no guarantee that the structure will be reused for the benefit of city residents. This third party may make all types of promises, but after obtaining the building and learning how much it will really cost to rehab the structure, they may give-up and the building will sit empty for many more years.
The City should seek reuse of the Hazelwood Library building the same way it sought reuse of the historic Buhl Planetarium building in 2002---by long-term lease. This way, the City retains control of the historic structure for the benefit of city residents.
In a recent Post-Gazette article, Councilman O’Connor expressed an interest in starting a “community conversation” about the future of the Hazelwood Library building. Let the petitioned public hearing be a beginning of this community conversation. Mr. President, I respectfully ask that you schedule this public hearing in the Hazelwood neighborhood.