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Kasper

Time to Save our Penguins

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Alright fellow Yinzers, it is time to get off our rears and start working to keep the Penguins in Pittsburgh. The internet is swirling with rumors and message boards are hosting fights between people from various cities fighting over our Penguins - like sharks circling an injured seal. It is making me physically ill.

No one in the city is even talking about getting a new arena. Our politicians are so worthless we can't trust them to do the right thing and make sure that whoever wins the license has to help fund an arena.

Everyday we need to write letters to the editor. We need to pressure the editorial writers of our newspapers to take up the cause, we need to pressure our politicians.

Contact the gaming commission sign slotsformario.com. Call people write letters and get all your friends and family to do so as well. Within an hour my sister and I were able to get over 20 people to sign the petition.

Let's do this. This city has consistently sacrificed the future of the city in order ot appease those who benefit from the status quo - this is unacceptable and we have to end it now.

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Kasper if I remember right the same rumors were flying in 99 and 2000 when they couldn't even pay Mario, in the mid 70s and in the mid 80s they also were "on the way out". I realize each time is unique and requires some sort of action or agreement. If we all recall though Mark Cuban was THISCLOSE to buying the Pens in 99 and 00 when Mario finally stepped in after not being paid.

I do like the idea of giving the slots to the Pens basically killing two birds with one stone. Only prob is it has to be fair with all the bidders.

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A new arena is needed for more than the Penguins. Everytime it gets tied to the Penguins it makes it harder to get public support to get one built. People tend to think that it is another way for millionares to make more money. Unlike Heinz Field (used maybe 12 times a year) and PNC Park (maybe 90 times a year), an arena is used most of the year with hockey using it less than half the time. The current arena cannot support some of the concerts and shows that travel around the country.

From the Penguins perscpective, they want more luxury box seating (one of the most importand revenue streams in hockey). Additionally, they want to build an entire enternainment complex around it, including housing.

Kansas City just build a new arena, and they don't even have a professional sports team to put in it. They realize that there is a civic need for a venue that can hold sporting events, lectures/conferencs, ice shows, music shows, etc.

PghUSA - although there was talk of the Pens leaving in the past, Mario was able to keep the team in Pittsburgh. However, part of the deal was that a new arena would have to be built in order for the team to be financially viable. I feel that they will leave if an arena is not built. Slots revenue is the only way it will happen.

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I really don't want them to leave. And I really want a new arena. But I am unsure about using slots revenue for the purpose. I just wonder if there are more important uses for the money, things which we should think about first. Like possibly reducing taxes, funding the arts, etc.

It really bothers me that someone made a proposal to build an arena privately, but I have not heard a word about it since. What ever happened to that? Other cities have managed to build arenas with private financing, why couldn't we?

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Your right Mario did save it contingent on an arena. I might sound goofy saying this but Cuban would fullfill a lifelong wish buying either the Pens or Pirates when the opportunity presented itself, and although he might have the city pay for an arena, it might not be as much as the current ownership would have us pay.

G, I agree with you on this I hated the fact that WE you me and everybody are paying for stadiums and fields etc. when there are firetrucks that haven't been certified since 2003, we are laying off cops, and old folks homes are closing. I love the Pens, I hope they build a great arena, but what does that tell you about our priorities as a city or as a cilivization. I know its unfair we built ones for the Steelers and Pirates that are used less then an arena, and I know the arena will be used for much much more then just sports. I guess I'm williing to wait and see if Cuban comes and saves the day with all that Silicon Valley money ;).

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I know many people think it is shallow to spend money on a new arena when there are so many other issues to deal with so let me put this in persepective.

1. Think of all the people who work at the arena and for the Penguins (ticketers, parking attendants, vendors etc) who will lose their jobs.

2. Think of all the bars and restaurants that depend on Pens games for their livlihood - they will close and their owners and employees will be out of work.

3. Kiss goodbye the $71 million dollars a year the Penguins generate for the city

4. Think of the urban revitilization (much needed) that this could bring to a huge part of our downtown

5. This could be huge for revitalizing the Hill District

Like it or not Pittsburgh's sports franchises have been virtually the only thing to keep this town in the national consciousness for the past 20 years. What does it tell the nation and businesses looking for a place to locate if Pittsburgh just lets its storied NHL frnachise (with the best core of young prespects in the entire league) fly away? It says this is a dying city with no future. Is that really something this town wants to lay on the backs of the younger generation of Pitttsburghers?

Plus the people seeking licenses are BUSINESSES PEOPLE! None of which (aside from the Pens) even have any ties to Pittsburgh. These licenses are not going to people interested in giving the local community property tax breaks. These licenses are being issued for people to make money. So give the license to the group that can provide something tangible and important back to the community.

This city needs an arena for about 100 things apart from hockey. This means if the Pens leave three years later the brain trusts who run this town are going to realize they have to build a new arena anyway but by that time the Penguins will be in Houston (dry heave).

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If the Pens can pull it together and get an arena without slots money I have always liked the Betters plan in Hays high on a hill overlooking downtown . . . only prob with the Betters plan is the access there is very little high traffic roads to it though the views are fantastic.

You are correct Kasper, the Pens do add a lot to the economy but with everything if it costs MORE to keep them then they add to the economy it's not worth it. I think fair is fair and that the Steelers and Pirates ripped us off somewhat with sweet stadium deals. An arena can be used for multiple events thats true but the NCAA likes it fine and so do national concerts . . . if anything it might be too large for concerts as it is now.

I would love to see a brand new arena/entertainment complex there but we went a whole season without the NHL in Pittsburgh and we were ok, I just have gotten shell shocked from the Petersen Events center roof leaking only a few dozen months after it is completed (state taxpayers paying for it), and Heinz's grass and McClatchey telling people they can't come to play at PNC.

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Urban revitalization? Last time we built an arena we physically destroyed 8,000 homes and businesses and let thousands more rot away under the banner of urban renewal.

Obviously, we are a little more sensitive to issues like this... but arenas and stadiums are not the best way to revitalize our urban core.

Heinz Field and PNC Park are still seas of parking lots. There's been a few suburban-ish office buildings and tentative plans for other projects... I love these stadiums... but it's foolish to think that stadiums are the cure to our ills.

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^ Arenas have smaller footprints & need less surrounding parking etc. You can build an arena on top of rail station, etc. Be creative. Arenas in major markets host 300+ events! That is a lot of people into a certain part of town throughout the entire year. More utility for an arena than an outdoor baseball stadium.

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I do agree that Pgh would have been better building an arena then building Heinz and PNC though you have to remember the NFL and MLB is more weighty then the NHL which some don't even consider a "major" sport and has to basically give away its TV contracts . . . hopefully this will change in time I love the sport but as far as plain utility of an arena I agree it is a better investment day in and day out . . . as long as the roof doesn't start leaking as it has with the Pete at Univ. of Pittsburgh.

As far as arenas being unique what ever happened to this proposal to build the new Penguins arena, did it die with the protracted hockey strike last season :(

http://www.urbanplanet.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=3762

(note this was back in the old days when you could quote a whole article a big NONO now)

0424arena-a.jpg

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Snippets of my opinions on this issue:

* Not even Mark Cuban would want to fund a new $250 million dollar Pittsburgh arena on his own. If the Pirates were not blessed with already having the majestic PNC Park in place, his interest in buying the Bucs would be - ZERO.

* Pittsburgh is hanging on by it's collective fingernails as being viewed nationally as a "major city", losing the Pens to K.C. (which is a very REAL threat), Portland, Houston, or even the OKC, will undoubtedly take the city trhe rest of the way off of that bluff. Losing the Pirates (with the Pens already gone), takes Da Burgh to the "larger Green Bay" level.

* The underground arena is the worst idea/concept i've ever seen. It seems Ken Sawyer would agree with me in verbatim.

* For the city itself, the Lemieux Group LP's vision (and design plans already in place) of a casino-new arena-new lower Hill District revitalization/rebuild would be the best of the slots application bunch.

* It's pretty clear to me that O'Connor wants "Cleveland" Forrest City Enterprises to be awarded that license. Hopefully, that little contingency/backtracking plan that he, Onorato, and the SEA have come up with, eventually produces a steak to go along with that sizzle.

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G, I agree with you on this I hated the fact that WE you me and everybody are paying for stadiums and fields etc. when there are firetrucks that haven't been certified since 2003, we are laying off cops, and old folks homes are closing.

I kind of think that is a false dichotomy. The stadiums were not paid for out of the city's operating budget. I think that is a mistake a lot of people are making.

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city's budget no, but "public financing" yes, and all that money be it county, fed, state, or SWPenn Com. that was earmarked for Pittsburgh could have had farther reaching uses. I am not an opponent of publicly financed stadiums/arenas I just think you have to make budget decisions and use the fianancing in wise ways stretching every dollar to the max.

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The chronic ineptitude of our civic leaders leaves me with little faith that they would use the monies earmarked for Pittsburgh in an effective manner. An arena is something tangible. It's something that cannot be taken away, diverted, used as padding for administrative budgets etc.

I want my new arena. [shakes fists in the air]

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Kasper, you should put that to music (ala "I want my MTV") :D

All things being equal I'd love a new arena!

Oh did anyone head over to slotsformario.com yet?

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Nearly zero-hour, and 66 strongly reiterates what he's been saying over & over ever since he rescued the franchise (again.).

Someone shake Onorato, wake up O'Connor, nudge Cheesesteak Eddie, or flood Cuban's inbox - before I prepare to buy my Kansas City Penguins (or will it be the Scouts?) swag...

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If Pittsburgh is going to lose one of the sports teams, at least the city will still have baseball and football. Keeping the two biggest sports keeps at least one of them going all year round. Maybe that will increase the support base for the Pirates, but baseball and hockey seem to draw from a different fan base. Hockey has really died in media and TV support anyway, even with one of the most loyal ticket purchasing fan bases. You don't see hockey on TV accept for the local sports channels. If you live in a city without an NHL team it's like they don't even play anymore.

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"I don't believe it's too late," [Onorato]said. "I believe that there is a way to be creative to get a new multipurpose arena."

Gee thanks, Dan. Now why don't you go hop in a time machine and say that two or three years ago? Thanks. <_<

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More details revealed...

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/05355/625661.stm

According to this article, the Pens are partnering with a casino operator (as yet unnamed) and Nationwide Realty on a plan to build a new arena with mixed development (retail, office, housing etc). This plan in contingents on winning a slots license.

A quote:

In addition to teaming with a casino operator and Nationwide Realty, the Penguins are hoping to join with a local group so additional slots-related revenue can be returned to the community.

I think this sounds like a great plan, and I am thrilled that they want to make sure some of the revenue goes to the community. I really hope this happens.

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DTJ, I agree . . . the greater good in all of this would be to get a classy "destination" casino and save an NHL franchise at the same time. I know that sounds like rigging the system but I hope our leaders can have the wisdom to effectively use all our assets for the best results.

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