Even though the Pittsburgh Penguins have shelled out a $1 million contribution toward construction of the new Shop ‘n Save market on Centre Avenue, Hill Consensus Group co-convener Carl Redwood Jr. said, given the subsidies the team has received, they should give more to their Hill District neighbors.
“We are proposing the creation of a Hill District Improvement Fund, and we suggest it be funded by taking $1 per car from the Penguins parking revenue at their Civic Arena and Melody Tent parking lots,” he said. “The Pittsburgh Penguins have received public subsidies and the gift of public land. As the residents of the Hill District are in closest proximity, they should receive social and economic benefits from the public’s investment.”
Redwood calculates the $1 fee would generate about $600,000 annually for the proposed improvement fund. He suggests the fund be held by a local foundation such as POISE, could be used for a variety of purposes including anti-displacement support, community image and public safety concerns, children and youth support, and transportation.
“We’ve been looking at a way to replace the Hill Loop bus service,” he said. “We want to give the elderly in, say, Milliones Manor a way down to Centre Ave. We may even do something with the new grocery.”
As for security, Redwood said funds could go toward cameras, hiring private security, battling open-air drug markets or combating nuisance bars.
“For event parking, the Penguins get $15 a car. For daytime parking they get $6, $7, or $8 depending on proximity to Downtown,” said Redwood. “Yeah, the city gets parking tax, but they should get it all. The city gave it away along with the development rights to the Civic Arena site.”