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

Named No. 4 in Top-Ten       Electronic Mail: < >

     For Preservation                         Internet Web Site: < >

                                                             2004 May 5


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


On Monday evening, to kick-off National Historic Preservation Week, the Young Preservationists Association of Pittsburgh named the historic Hazelwood Branch Library building as number four in their second-annual list of the “Top Ten Best Preservation Opportunities for 2004.”


The Young Preservationists Association of Pittsburgh is the third major regional organization to recognize the importance of the historic Hazelwood Library building. Late last year, the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation nominated the historic Hazelwood Library building, along with the historic library buildings in Lawrenceville, Homewood, Mount Washington, and West End, to become City Designated Historic Structures. Later this morning, you will consider these nominations. At a public hearing before the Historic Review Commission of Pittsburgh, Preservation Pittsburgh also announced their strong support for these historic nominations.


In their report regarding the historic Hazelwood Library building, the Young Preservationists Association notes that “preliminary discussions with a local architectural firm to find funds for its restoration” has begun. Why did Carnegie Library not work with the neighborhood to do this, instead of just abandoning the library and auditorium for a smaller library-only site?


If money can be found to rehabilitate the historic Hazelwood Library building, I would fully support such plans provided the original woodwork and furnishings, particularly the landmark circulation desk, are kept intact. This woodwork and furnishings are just as important historically, from an interior design perspective, as the exterior of the building which would be protected by the City Designated Historic Structure designation. The historic interior, which helped define later Carnegie Libraries nationwide, can not be forgotten.


With many other vacant structures and empty lots in Hazelwood, it is difficult to understand how money for the library building’s rehabilitation can become available, without a major tenant for the building. And, with a major riverfront development planned a few blocks away, it is likely that most potential commercial tenants would prefer to be in the new development, rather than spend money to ameliorate years of Carnegie Library’s deferred maintenance.


The historic Hazelwood Library building does need rehabilitation. However, once rehabilitated, the Hazelwood Branch of The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh should be returned to this historic building, once their five-year lease has expired in the current library site. The Hazelwood Library building was designed to be a library—the library’s return would be the best fit for this historic building.


Thank you.