This facility is what drove me to get involved in politics. The planning was goofy to me then, as a newbie in this realm. The promises that were made have been broken. It wasn't square from the get-go.
UPMC, a nonprofit, purchased the prime riverfront land from the URA (city owned Urban Redevelopment Authority). The land came at a bargain price. These 30 acres were sold, and deals were struck, so that the Steelers could have a place to practice. A practice field on the North Side was taken with the building of Heinz Field.
A PLIOT -- Payment In Lieu of Taxes -- was struck. Or, so the joke was told.
This happened years ago. Back then I was not okay with the sale of the land. I was not happy with the design of the dwarf football fields. I was not okay with the pledge of community access. I was not happy to see the loss of tax incomes by selling the land to a nonprofit owner. I objected. I spoke up. My protest, and that of some others as well, got the new owners, UPMC, to dump some additional money back into the community. I call that 'hush money.' The $6,000 grant offer from Jerry D was laughed at and the amount went up ten-fold from one meeting to the next. He is long gone from UPMC's administration. I'm still here. I'm still with a vivid memory of the broken promises too.
Now at the city council meeting, today, the deal got twisted again. The money that UPMC is paying for the land is still part of the sales agreement. Say what? That needs to be put on tape. But then again, the weirdness came from Sala Udin, a URA Board member and long-time 'yes man' to Mayor Murphy. Sala's time on council is ending shortly.
Sala's statements need to be researched. If nothing else, that deal needs to be unlocked and put in the open -- finally.
Council postpones vote on payments by nonprofits Mr. Shields called that 'circular logic' and said the obvious solution would be the release to council of all existing agreements with nonprofit organizations. 'What's the rush to this?' he said of the contract vote. 'The agreement before us is incomplete.'One long-term solution to these nonprofit struggles should be the construction of a land-expansion-moratorium for the whole nonprofit community. We need to do a complete inventory of land. This needs to be cataloged by year in square foot. And, the trend has to be put in reverse.
Mayor Murphy was happy to give away land to nonprofits. Then he is quick to cry the blues because so much land is owned by the nonprofits.
I've been talking about the crisis of nonprofit land ownership for years -- and that was the reason I jumped into politics.
Now there are others who are finally starting to 'think again.'