North Side library relocation plan given green light
Pittsburgh City Council cleared the way Thursday for a new Carnegie Library in the North Side to replace one shuttered after a lightning strike.
Council members voted to transfer a parcel of vacant land on Federal Street to the Urban Redevelopment Authority, which has agreed to sell the land to the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh for $1. The branch will be built near the planned Federal North housing development.
The Federal Street library will replace the historic Allegheny Regional Library at 5 Allegheny Square, which closed in April 2006 after lighting struck the library’s clock tower and did $2 million worth of damage. Insurance covered most of the costs and the library has been repaired, but Carnegie Library officials want to build new.
Allegheny Regional Library was the first opened by steel magnate Andrew Carnegie in what was then the city of Allegheny. President Benjamin Harrison dedicated the library in February 1890.
Some opponents of the move told council members they should not allow the land transfer because of the shuttered branch’s historic significance.
“I urge you … have library service restored to the Allegheny Regional Library and avoid another long-time vacancy in the core of Allegheny Center,” Mt. Lebanon resident Glenn A. Walsh told council members.
“We can’t make the Carnegie Library stay in a location that they don’t want to stay in,” said Councilwoman Tonya Payne, who represents that part of the North Side.
The land transfer passed 7-1. Councilwoman Darlene Harris was the lone dissenter, saying she opposes the library’s move.