The Deal is Done

I’m going out to play Powerball this weekend .. and I’m going to win!

After all, I’m rolling right now. Months ago, I wrote in my blog Mike Tomlin would be the Steelers next head coach – and he got the job. I’ve been telling people for weeks – at least those who have asked me – that the Pens would stay in Pittsburgh. I just wish I had blogged about it so I had the proof.

Yes, the dead is done and the Pens are sticking around for the next three decades. It’s a great time for Pens fans and Mario Lemieux continues to play the role of hero. Only this time, he had to play hardball with the politicos. Usually, the teams are the bad guys in these deals because they not only threaten cities with relocation, but when they get their deals they usually takes our tax dollars to create the palaces. Tax dollars we normally don’t have and the promised economic growth never materializes.
This time, though, the Penguins were the good guys. Mario was promised an arena seven years ago – and I don’t care if the mayor, county executive and governor were not in office at the time. There was still an obligation to build this building and the fact Lemieux’s group had to wait seven plus years for this to happen borders of lunacy. If Mario had chosen to move the team, it would not only have been his right but also I would not blame him one bit.

That being said, this arena issue was really not so much about keeping the hockey team here as it was a much-needed structure getting build. One that would allow Pittsburgh to continue its’ renaissance and compete for events such as concerts, shows and even the NCAA basketball tournament. The Pens proved only to be vessel to push this program forward.

Also, you cannot deny the on-ice performance of the Pens played a crucial role in stirring up public support and increasing pressure on public officials. Do you really think fans – who have shown up in record numbers this season- would have been as fervent if the Pens were a losing team? A talented team and a promising future was all part of the plan.
Finally, as Mellon Arena comes down in two years, one thing makes me smile. At least the building is paid for. Not the case when we tore down Three Rivers Stadium with 30 million left on the tab for that structure.

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