Statement before                    Glenn A. Walsh

Pittsburgh City Council --          P.O. Box 1041

   Historic Hazelwood                      Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15230-1041 U.S.A.

     Library Building:                         Telephone: 412-561-7876

 Post-Carnegie Library          Electronic Mail: < >

        Budget Hearing                             Internet Web Site: < >

                                                                                2003 December 2


Good morning. I am Glenn A. Walsh of 633 Royce Avenue, Mount Lebanon. Today, I am representing no formal organization.


First, I want to commend the City of Pittsburgh for continuing to honor, even during these trying financial times, the historic agreement made between the City and Andrew Carnegie in 1890 to provide an annual subsidy of $40,000 to The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.


Last week, at the Carnegie Library Budget Hearing, Carnegie Library Director Herb Elish stated that he was “blindsided” and “stunned” by the Hazelwood neighborhood reaction to Carnegie Library’s plan to abandon the historic Hazelwood Branch Library building. He stated that Carnegie Library had been talking to the neighborhood for a long time, regarding the proposed move of the library.
Well, if Mr. Elish was “blindsided” by the neighborhood reaction, then it seems obvious that whoever Carnegie Library officials had been talking to, they were the wrong people. The fact is that, unlike Homewood, Brookline, and other neighborhoods, Carnegie Library did not call meetings with the entire Hazelwood neighborhood to fully discuss this issue—not until September after the decision had been made.
And, just two weeks earlier, Mr. Elish had told the Board of Directors of the Allegheny Regional Asset District that a decision would not be made until they had consulted with the Hazelwood neighborhood. Yet, at the September 9 neighborhood meeting, Mr. Elish said the decision had already been made. In response to a question from me, Mr. Elish actually said that they had decided not to meet with the entire Hazelwood neighborhood earlier to discuss the proposal.
Carnegie Library officials had discussed this proposal earlier, only, with one neighborhood organization: the Hazelwood Initiative, which does not represent the entire neighborhood. Two other neighborhood organizations, Greater Hazelwood Development, Inc. and the Glen Hazel Citizens Association/CDC, both vehemently oppose moving the library out of the historic building. So, it is obvious that only a small group of people were consulted, by Carnegie Library officials, when this decision was made.
Again, Mr. Elish said that he was “blindsided” by the neighborhood reaction to the proposed library building abandonment. That tells me that he now, finally, understands that the majority of Hazelwood residents oppose the library move. Yet, Carnegie Library is continuing to proceed with plans to abandon the historic building and move the library.
So, he is not truly interested in complying with the wishes of the majority of Hazelwood residents. He just wants to abandon the historic Hazelwood Branch Library building.
Carnegie Library has ignored the wishes of the majority of Hazelwood residents. You are the people’s representatives. Are you going to ignore the wishes of the majority of Hazelwood residents?
Thank you.