Pittsburgh's Civic Arena One Step Closer To Demolition

A bunch of fine folks in Pittsburgh have spent the last several months in court, attempting to save the 50-year-old Civic Arena from it's inevitable date with the wrecking ball. While these people surely only mean well in their desire to see the long time home of the Penguins preserved for the rest of time as a Historic Landmark, their efforts have been fruitless.

The latest setback came on Friday, when a U.S. District Judge turned down their latest attempt to block the demolition. 

From the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:

[Preservation Pittsburgh] sued seven local and federal officials on July 7 in an attempt to stop the planned demolition. It asked a judge to block demolition on the grounds that tearing down the arena violates the National Historic Preservation Act by using federal highway money to redevelop the 28-acre site.

The judge disagreed.

"Plaintiff has failed to convince this court that there is any federal involvement with the Civic Arena demolition and redevelopment project," [Judge David] Cercone wrote.

Attorneys for Preservation Pittsburgh filed a request yesterday with Cercone seeking an order to halt any demolition plans while they appeal.

The Penguins actually hold the development rights to the Arena property, despite the fact that it's owner by the Pittsburgh-Allegheny County Sports & Exposition Authority. The team says that the presence of the arena prevents the proper development of the site, which is probably accurate.

Preservation Pittsburgh, however, doesn't seem to really care about that, claiming that the Arena is a vital part of the neighborhood and that since the federal government is contributing money to help rebuild infrastructure around the demolition project, it is required by law to consider historic resources. Of course, they also claim that Civic Arena is an asset in developing the Hill District. 

Pittsburgh's Historic Review Commission has voted against declaring the building a historic landmark. As the preservation group continues to weigh their legal options, the demolition plan continues. Workers have already begun removing asbestos from the Igloo.

For more on the Penguins, check in with SB Nation's Pensburgh.

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