PITTSBURGH - Thousands of tax dollars have gone toward the repair of the city of Pittsburgh’s vehicle repair shop in the Strip District, but despite the materials already having been bought and brought in for the job, Target 11 investigator Rick Earle discovered the project has yet to begin.
“We questioned it at the time. We thought it was a bad idea,” City Controller Mike Lamb said.
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Lamb said he was told at the time that the city had an agreement to sell the building in the Strip District and that’s why the repairs were abruptly stopped. But more than a year later, the building hasn’t been sold and thro of hasn’t been fixed.
Some of the material brought in for the project have been moved and used on other city-owned buildings, but Lamb contended the roof should have been fixed.
“It's one of these things where we are pennywise and pound foolish. We should have done the roof,” he said.
Meanwhile, Chief Operations Officer Guy Costa defended the decision not to fix it.
“We just didn't feel it was wise to invest that kind of money at this time when we don't know the future of the building,” he said.
Costa said the city is in the process of evaluating every city-owned building, and he said the fleet maintenance facility along the Allegheny River is prime property for commercial development.
“It's like a house. I mean, if you know you are going to get rid of your house, are you going to invest thousands of dollars when you know you are going to sell it?” he said.
Lamb still insists the right decision wasn’t made in this case.
“We have a lot of properties we need to maintain whether it's a police station, fire stations, senior centers, or rec centers. It's a big operation, but the best way to do that is to be efficient and effective as you can in the use of materials and doing these kinds of projects. Unfortunately, we missed the mark here,” he said.
Costa said any leaks at the Strip District building will be patched up.
The admiration maintain that by not repairing the roof and then putting the building up for sale for private development, they’ll be saving taxpayers even more money in the long run.
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