Saw this article in the P-G this afternoon:
Pittsburgh City Councilwoman Tonya Payne said today that she has a plan to fix and maintain the Hill District's damaged Freedom Corner monument that involves transferring ownership to the city and raising money for a trust fund...So let me get this straight:
The monument is owned by the Urban Redevelopment Authority and had been leased to, and maintained by, the Hill Community Development Corp. before that arrangement expired some time ago, Ms. Payne said today...
"Once it becomes city property, we can maintain it from the same fund with which we maintain other city monuments," she said. Then she will set up a trust fund that can only be spent on Freedom Corner's maintenance and improvement, and approach donors.
"It is a valued monument for the City of Pittsburgh that we can't afford to lose," she said. She said she moved $56,500 slated for unspecified work at Freedom Corner into the district improvement fund because she feared it could otherwise be snapped up for other projects outside of the Hill.
Money that was earmarked for Freedom Corner, but not used, is going to be used to fund other projects in the 6th Councilmatic District. The property will be moved off the URA's books and onto the City's books. Money will now have to be raised to cover the additional expense that the City (I supposed Parks & Recreation) will now have to incur to keep the area maintained.
So really this is just moving money that was a restricted resource allocation to a specific project into a walking around fund, throwing the cost of the site back onto the books of the City, and a big F-you to the Councilwoman's enemies at (what's left of) the Hill CDC... especially those that are involved in the One Hill discussion.
Now, I'm no financial wizard or anything, so I'm really racking my brains to figure out how this is anything but a quick grab for cash by Ms. Payne in order to grease the wheels of her next council campaign... unless it really is just a big F-you.