Outline of Presentation


Primary Impediments to Historic Preservation: EGO and MONEY !


I.              Ego


   A.         Institution Administrators

       1.      Looking to leave a legacy—change for changes sake.

   B.         Politicians

       1.      Change—any change—to show constituents they are “improving” community.


II.            Money


   A.         Real Estate Developers/Speculators

       1.      Promote new or renovated structure, which they think will increase community property values, often with contributions to political campaigns.

   B.         Consultants, Architects, Contractors

       1.      Promote building changes while seeking public contracts, often with contributions to political campaigns.

   C.         Politicians & So-called “Economic Development” (Subsidized Real Estate Speculation)

       1.      Politicians risk public funds to try to buy additional real estate development; any short-term gains come at a fairly high price, both monetarily and through loss of history, and often do not translate into long-term gains.

                                a. Federal “Urban Renewal” projects of the 1960s and 1970s [and later, UDAG (Urban Development Action Grants)]– many now being undone.

`                               b. State Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program Grants.

                                c. Local TIF (Tax Increment Financing) packages, deferring municipal, county, and school district property taxes to assist project construction.

       2.      So-called “Economic Development” (Subsidized Real Estate Speculation) given high priority, even if results in economic “musical chairs” and historic properties are abandoned or demolished.

III.           Case Studies: Original Carnegie Libraries


   A.         Andrew Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall, Carnegie PA

       1.      Origin & Endowment.

       2.      RAD Funding & Lawsuit Against Library by Borough; Near Loss of RAD & State Funding.

       3.      Chartiers Valley Partnership & Amending Trust Agreement.

       4.      Already, some historic interior “modernized” and fate of historic fixtures unknown.

       4.      ACLA & Discarding of Nearly Half of Collection.


   B.         Carnegie Free Library of Allegheny PA

       1.      Origin.

       2.      Urban Renewal in 1970s.

       3.      Lightning Strike and Abandonment 2006.


   C.         Original Neighborhood Branches: Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh

       1.      Hazelwood – Abandoned 2004.

       2.      Lawrenceville.

       3.      Mount Washington.

       4.      Homewood – One token  (“Taj Mahal”) rehab project.

       5.      Downtown Library Center with Point Park University (renovation of historic bank buildings):

First Public Library/Private University Partnership through joint operating agreement (1997 – 2004).

       6.      New Library Leases with City & Hidden Sales Option.


    D.        Carnegie Free Libraries in Braddock, Homestead, and Duquesne PA

        1.     Origins.

        2.     $1 Million Endowment for three libraries.

        3.     “Sell-off” of Braddock & Duquesne Libraries – 1968.

        4.     Closure of USS Homestead Works & Transfer of Endowment.

        5.     ACLA & Risk to Carnegie Free Library of Braddock.


IV.           Summation and Solutions


     A.       Summation of Problem

                1. Ego and Money.

                2. Pittsburgh, in general.

a. Trying to buy its way back to prosperity, yet population and resources are dwindling. Trying to compete with newer cities in south and west on their terms—build all new and abandon the old. With newer cities having increased population and resources, they will win this strategy.

                b. Pittsburgh and other older cities need to compete on their own terms—differentiation and maintaining existing infrastructure to avoid high replacement costs, hence, having additional resources for new or expanded infrastructure that the older cities do not already have, or other needs.


     B.       Solutions

        1.     Educating the Public of Value of Historic Preservation;

                Preservation = Conservation of Community Wealth, both monetarily and heritage.

        2.     Organizing Public Involvement in Neighborhood Carnegie Library;

                Make Politicians and Library Administrators Aware of True Neighborhood

                Opposition to Any Anti-Preservation Proposals.

        3.     “Modernization” Should Be Restricted to Library Offerings and Programs

                Which Would Truly Benefit the Public --

NOT Brick-and-Mortar Projects in the Guise of “Modernization,” Unless

It is a True Expansion Project with Minimal Effect on Historic Facilities.