URA Votes To Take Next Step Toward Making Hunt Armory An Ice Rink

Dec 11, 2015

Dolores Vojta of Shadyside said she supports a community ice rink in her neighborhood during the public comments portion of the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh's meeting.
Credit Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA News

The Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh voted Thursday to take the next step in converting the Hunt Armory in Shadyside into an indoor ice rink.

The URA will enter a 90-day exclusive negotiation period with the developer, Krasta properties which also established ice rinks in Harmar and Bethel Park.

The lone dissenting vote came from former state Senator Jim Ferlo who said he opposed the proposal because it did not meet the requirements outlined by the URA and is not sustainable based on the financial plan.

Board chairman Kevin Acklin said as part of the negotiations the developer will have to revise and submit a proposal based on conditions recommended by the board.

“What we’re voting on today is an exclusivity period giving this proposal a shot," Acklin said. "There’s been overwhelming public support. We’ve identified and narrowed what our concerns are as fiduciaries of this authority and if this proposal doesn’t hit those conditions, we’ll have to go in a different direction.”

The conditions reflect concerns board members had with the proposal and include commissioning a traffic study with a third party consultant, organizing community meetings to explain the proposal and committing to a 20-year use of the property consistent with the proposal.

That vote came after several community members voiced their support during the packed meeting. They said they don’t want more apartments in an already densely populated neighborhood and that the ice rink would be an important community asset.

Acklin said the process involved three very different proposals, some of which would have generated more tax revenue for the city. He said he received more than 1,000 emails and phone calls about the redevelopment and most favored the ice rink.

“But ultimately what we’re proposing, what I’m asking the board to vote on today, is a proposal that at this point appears to have the overwhelming support of the Shadyside and immediately surrounding neighborhoods,” he said.