Thursday, August 18, 2016

Keep Historic Hazelwood Library as City Property

Hazelwood Branch of The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh 
The original building of the Hazelwood Branch of The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh,
which opened in 1900 as the fourth neighborhood library branch in the first multi-library
Carnegie Library system.
(Image Source: History of Andrew Carnegie and Carnegie Libraries Internet Web Site; Photographer: Lynne S. Walsh)

By Glenn A. Walsh
Reporting for LibraryWatchtower

Last month, the City of Pittsburgh proposed selling the historic Hazelwood Branch Library building of The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh to the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh (URA) for $1, in preparation for sale to a third party for redevelopment.

The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh had abandoned the historic building, in favor of a downsized library branch on the second floor of a new retail building, on 2004 March 13. On 2004 July 14, the historic Hazelwood Library branch building, along with four other historic library branches (West End, Mount Washington, Lawrenceville, and Homewood), received a unanimous vote from the Pittsburgh City Council naming each of these five buildings as a "City-Designated Historic Structure."

Should such a sale occur, the people of Pittsburgh, and particularly the people in the Hazelwood neighborhood, will no longer have any influence in the use, or disuse, of this historic property. This building includes a large auditorium, which has been used for community events for more than a century.

Long-time library advocate Glenn A. Walsh, has taken-issue with such a sale. Mr. Walsh served as a Life Trustee on the Board of Trustees of the Andrew Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall in Carnegie, Pennsylvania from 1995 to 2000. Since 1999, he has been the Web Site Administrator for the History of Andrew Carnegie and Carnegie Libraries Internet web site.

On 2016 July 20, Mr. Walsh addressed his concerns before the Council of the City of Pittsburgh, with the following public statement:

Statement before the         Glenn A. Walsh
Council of                            P.O. Box 1041
    The City of                       Pittsburgh PA 15230-1041 U.S.A.
          Pittsburgh:                 Telephone: 412-561-7876
Proposed Sale of                 Electronic Mail: < > 
      Historic                           Internet Site: <  >
Hazelwood Branch Bldg.,   Blog: < >
Carnegie Library                 2016 July 20

Good morning, I am Glenn A. Walsh, 633 Royce Avenue, Mt. Lebanon. Today I am speaking as a private citizen representing no organization.

I support reuse of the historic Hazelwood Library building, including the large auditorium. However, I oppose Bill 614 which would allow the City of Pittsburgh to sell-off the historic structure.

Bill 614 specifically states: “…conveying AS IS all of the City's right, title and interest, if any, in designated City-owned properties to the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh ("URA") for consideration of $1.00 each…” Once this conveyance occurs, the City of Pittsburgh, and the people’s duly-elected representatives in this Council, no longer have any control over what happens to the building.

If the building is sold to a third party, there is no guarantee that the structure will be reused for the benefit of city residents. This third party may make all types of promises, but after obtaining the building and learning how much it will really cost to rehab the structure, they may give-up and the building will sit empty for many more years.

The City should seek reuse of the Hazelwood Library building the same way it sought reuse of the historic Buhl Planetarium building in 2002---by long-term lease. This way, the City retains control of the historic structure for the benefit of city residents.

In a recent Post-Gazette article, Councilman O’Connor expressed an interest in starting a “community conversation” about the future of the Hazelwood Library building. Let the petitioned public hearing be a beginning of this community conversation. Mr. President, I respectfully ask that you schedule this public hearing in the Hazelwood neighborhood.

Thank you.


Internet Links to Additional Information ---

Bill Number 2016-0614, which proposes to sell historic Hazelwood Library building to URA for $1:
Link >>>

Save Hazewood Library: Link >>>

Bauder, Bob. Pittsburgh moving to sell properties to promote development
Tribune-Review, Pittsburgh 2016 July 12.
Proposed sale of original Carnegie Library, Hazelwood Branch, from City of Pittsburgh to Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh for one dollar, for future redevelopment.

Belko, Mark. "Pittsburgh looks to join development boom in its own backyard."
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 2016 July 12.
Proposed sale of original Carnegie Library, Hazelwood Branch, from City of Pittsburgh to Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh for one dollar, for future redevelopment.

Related Blog Post ---

"Historic Hazelwood Library Public Hearing." 2016 Sept. 13.

(Includes public statement of Glenn A. Walsh before Pittsburgh City Council)

Link >>>

Source: Glenn A. Walsh Reporting for LibraryWatchtower.
             2016 Aug. 18.

                                                               Historic 10-inch Siderostat-type Refractor Telescope at Pittsburgh's original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science.
        2016: 75th Year of Pittsburgh's Buhl Planetarium Observatory
     Link >>>

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Glenn A. Walsh, LibraryWatchtower Editor / Author: >
Electronic Mail - < >
Twitter Feed: < >
LibraryWatchtower Blog: < >
SpaceWatchtower Blog: < >
South Hills Backyard Astronomers Blog: < >
Barnestormin Blog: Writing, Essays, Pgh. News, etc.: < >
Author of History Web Sites on the Internet --
* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries:
  < >
* West End Branch, The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh: >
* Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall, Carnegie PA:
< >
* Civil War Museum of Andrew Carnegie Free Library:
  < >
* Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear:
  < >
* Buhl Planetarium, Pittsburgh:
  < >
* Adler Planetarium, Chicago:
  < >
Duquesne Incline cable-car railway, Pittsburgh:
  < >
* Public Transit:
  < >

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