Sunday, December 24, 2006

Steelers, Pirates Disappointed by Slots via - Houston Chronicle

Hey Houston. We have a bit of a problem. This from the, of the Houston Chronicle. Note, this article in Houston isn't harping about the Penguins moving to Texas.
Steelers, Pirates Disappointed by Slots | - Houston Chronicle: "The Pittsburgh Steelers and Pirates were surprised and troubled by a state gaming panel's decision Wednesday that allows a gambling casino to be built close to their stadiums, with each team wondering how the slots parlor will affect them on game days.

The Steelers, long opposed to sharing their North Side neighborhood with a $450 million glass-and-steel casino, issued a terse statement that didn't disguise their anger that Detroit developer Don Barden will build the casino only a block away from Heinz Field."
We'll deal with the Steelers, what time is the game anyway, and Pirates in another thread. But let's clear up the facts.

Steelers President Art Rooney II said. "It seemed it was a process that was designed to give little weight to local interests....

No sir Mr. Rooney. First, the statue of Art Rooney with a cigar gives little weight to local health concerns. The no-smoking ban aside, the process gave great weight to local interests. The slots parlor didn't fit in the lower Hill and there were protests. The slots parlor didn't fit in Station Square as there were serious concerns from locals in both South Side and Mt. Washington. Furthermore, no local interest doubt came from the North Side. The Pirates and Steelers don't have ownership of squat in our public built and owned stadiums.

The Steelers could have local interest if the Steelers purchased Heinz Field. Buy it. Get local interest with ownership of the facility you play in.

The Steelers could have had more local interest if it would have built a practice facility on the North Side. The team could have practices over there and you could have rented offices to Dr. Fu and UPMC for an Orthopedic Clinic. So, the Steelers don't have any interest in the South Side either, just for the record. Rooney's Steelers are renters.

The Steelers had an opportunity to build an outdoor concert venue on the North Side. But the state came in with a promise of $4-million as a gift. This was two years ago and I don't remember any concerts over there yet. Fumble! I'm glad that project is in limbo, frankly. We'll get a nice outdoor concert venue on the North Shore, around the glass facade of the river front slots parlor.

The deal of the Stadiums, another broken promise squared, was that the Steelers and Pirates would get their new facilities and have ownership stakes and incentives for development of the land around Heinz Field and PNC Park. That rip off didn't materialize either. Years passed an little to nothing was done. The promise was that mixed use development would come and the teams would be the driving force of that value expansion. The development around Three Rivers Stadium never materialized as was promised back in the 1970s too.
The Steelers and Pirates squandered an opportunity of a lifetime. The deal that was hatched to get Heinz Field, before it was even called Heinz Field and you hogged the naming rights revenue, was crooked and all in the favor of the Rooney family. We've got rid of Steve Leeper and Tom Murphy and the boss of the URA too. The local interests of the ball teams on the North Side can be put into one surface parking lot, after the tailgaters have departed. I see the statement about your new, soon-to-be neighbors as nothing more than trash talk. And, its to #32 and his extended biz buddies too.

Furthermore, the Steelers statement continues, "We will have to consider all of our options in determining how to respond to this decision."

Your options were clear: The Steelers were to pave the streets of the North Side with gold -- and do it with tax-payers money with private developers jumping aboard. The Steelers fumbled. The Steelers didn't get it done. An open hole was presented and you didn't run with the ball -- jagoff.

The North Side should be much, much more than it is today, and it isn't because of the Steelers total lack of leadership and ambition.

The Houston article states, "The Pirates' tone was more conciliatory than that of the Steelers, perhaps because their PNC Park is four or five blocks away from the planned casino."

It is a slots parlor, not a casino. It is NOT the Pirates PNC Park, it is owned by the public. The Pirates rent PNC Park and they get a bunch of free parking spots too.

Last year the SEA, (Stadium and Exhibition Authority) granted a slew of parking spaces to the Pittsburgh Pirates organization. This large give-a-way came in Luke Ravenstahl's first SEA meeting. The office people, coaches, players and workers didn't want to pay to park. They wanted a free spot. They cried about the lack of perks to the SEA, a board that is to care for the public interest of these public spaces. The SEA caved and granted the free parking to the Pirates.

The reported loss of parking spots is backwards. The Pirates have been making out on parking. And there is a mega new parking garage between the two sports venues that just opened months ago. I don't think anyone has seen a spot on the 3rd, 4th, or 5th floors -- yet. Because it is never used. But, they were built. And the ramp right onto and off of the highway might come soon too.

The upper decks of the parking structure with ramps to the highway might make for a great place for teens from Robinson and Shaler to gather so as to burn rubber in circles since there is no room lots of security at Ross Park Mall.

Mr. McClatchy, congestion has an upside and doesn't need to hurt. McClatchy asked, "will it (slots parlor) create congestion that hurts everybody?" Most urban aware business people see congestion and density as an opportunity for profits. When fans have the ability to get to the ballpark quickly, it is because nobody wants to go to PNC Park. Getting to Fenway has never been seen as a problem. Getting to Wrigley has been seen as an experience, not a problem. Those navigational worries are what they are because of the urban experience of fans among community.

More worries come in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th innings of games with the team on the field.

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