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by Staff Writer / Pittsburgh Penguins

‘Pittsburgh First’ project has support from state, city and county representatives

A delegation of 18 prominent western Pennsylvania elected officials representing the state, city and county endorsed the Pittsburgh Penguins’ plan for a new arena, casino and accompanying development on Wednesday.

In conjunction with Isle Of Capri Casinos and Nationwide Realty, the Penguins recently announced their plan for a development project totaling more than $1 billion, on and near the site currently occupied by 45-year-old Mellon Arena. Isle of Capri has applied for the Pittsburgh slots license, and, if successful, will fully fund construction of a new multi-purpose arena that will keep the Penguins in Pittsburgh for the long-term. The Penguins, Isle of Capri, Nationwide Realty and various community groups have united in this project under the banner of “Pittsburgh First.”

The group of elected officials includes state senators and state representatives as well as members of Pittsburgh City Council and Allegheny County Council.

They are state senators Jim Ferlo, Jane Orie, Jay Costa and John Pippy; state representatives  Frank Dermody, Dan Frankel, Joe Preston, Joe Markosek, Mark Gergely, Paul Costa, Sean Ramaley, Frank LaGrotta and Nick Kotik; county councilman Bill Robinson; city council president Luke Ravenstahl and city council members Bill Peduto, Jim Motznik and Tonya Payne.

The elected leaders became the latest group to endorse the Penguins’ plan. They called for the entire western Pennsylvania region to put the public interest first and unite behind the proposal to use Pittsburgh’s gaming license profits to spur the comprehensive billion-dollar development project that will produce thousands of jobs and new businesses, revitalize the Uptown and Hill communities and generate millions of dollars of revenue for the region, in addition to providing a new, state-of-the art arena for concerts, children’s shows, circus events, skating shows and a wide range of sporting events, including Penguins hockey.

State Senator Jane Orie said, “The Penguins’ proposal is a win-win situation for both the City of Pittsburgh and the region as a whole. This proposal will provide a new, state-of-the-art, multi-use facility to residents of the region without using taxpayer dollars.”

State Senator Jay Costa stated, “Pittsburgh First represents one of the largest economic development projects in the history of western Pennsylvania, including a $1 billion investment in the future that will produce thousands of jobs, new businesses, millions of dollars in revenue to the city and county, the revitalization of a neighborhood, a privately-funded arena and a world-class gaming facility. Most of all, this economic development project will put the people of western Pennsylvania first.”

State Representative Frank Dermody, chairman of the Democratic Allegheny County Delegation, added, “I believe the gaming license should be used to benefit the entire region – not just one developer or one company – by serving as the engine to spur one of the largest economic development projects in the history of the region. This is why I want all the public and private leaders in western Pennsylvania to join us in doing what is right for the people – unite in supporting this project.”

Since the project was announced shortly before Christmas, Pittsburgh First has continued to generate more and more support, with leading civic, religious, political, business and community leaders and organizations endorsing the project. They include Barbara McNeese, president of the Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce; Kathryn Klaber, executive vice president of the Allegheny County Conference of Economic Development; Jack Brooks, executive secretary of the Greater Pittsburgh Regional Council of Carpenters; the Reverend James Simms, former president of Allegheny County Council; and the Builders Association of Metropolitan Pittsburgh.


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