Monday, April 21, 2008

Impound of Flesh

I saw this report from Friday's PG on redeveloping the City's impound lot:

Yesterday, in the shadow of the 31st Street Bridge near the Strip District, Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl walked among the few hundred wrecked and abandoned cars in the city's impound yard, and nothing dented his impression that there must be a better use for the riverfront land....

Step one: Find a private operator to handle the storage and release of towed cars, at a different location still convenient enough for those seeking to reclaim their vehicles. Interested firms have until May 9 to submit proposals.
Step two: Cut a hole in the box.

Step three: Profit.

No, wait, I'm getting my jokes confused.
Step two: Cast about for ideas for redeveloping the 2-acre site, and possibly the 8- to 10-acre parcel next door, where city trash trucks now sit.

Step three: Work with the Riverlife Task Force and a yet-to-be-selected consultant to turn past and future visions of the water's edge into a comprehensive plan that could include a rewrite of city zoning rules for the shores..

"The idea is that the riverfronts are really precious property from every perspective," said Riverlife Executive Director Lisa Schroeder. She said an effort to revitalize a Y-shaped swath of riverfront is 60 percent done, with another 20 percent underway, and the Strip parcel would be a step toward completion. "We really feel like we're reaching a tipping point now."
Despite all the attention that this idea has generated in the press, this is actually a pretty old idea. Back when Tom Murphy was still in office, the idea was floated as a way to divest the City of some very valuable riverfront property that wasn't being used for its highest and best purposes.

There was a problem though: the City had to find itself a parcel of land to replace the impound lot and, because of the scarcity, most of the large parcels of flat land that were available were too valuable to devote to such a cause. The solution that was presented, whether real or in jest, was to purchase or lease property from the neighboring municipality of McKees Rocks and have them deal with it.

Personally, I thought it was a very clever and unique idea, even though it never came to fruition.

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