Friends of the Zeiss
P.O. Box 1041
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15230-1041 U.S.A.
Electronic Mail: < firstname.lastname@example.org >
Internet Web Site: < http://www.friendsofthezeiss.org >Statement Before Pittsburgh City Council: 2002 November 25
Good morning. I am Glenn A. Walsh, and I reside at 633 Royce Avenue in Mount Lebanon. I am Project Director of Friends of the Zeiss.
Last week, Governor Mark Schweiker presented capital grants for several Pittsburgh projects, including $8 million for the proposed expansion of the Pittsburgh Children's Museum. What was not publicized was the fact that one prominent organization was passed-over for State funding: The Carnegie Science Center.
The Carnegie received $15 million for expansion of Dinosaur Hall, instead of the requested 50 percent funding for the Science Center's much more expensive project. Science Center expansion has been in the planning for more than three years.
And, according to yesterday's Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Carnegie Institute is now dipping into their endowment to fund daily operations at the four Carnegie museums. Whether The Carnegie operating budget can afford a huge Science Center expansion is now a major question.
Last month, the debt ceiling for State capital funding was raised by $250 million. This month, the Governor has already used-up $130 million of this amount! Yet, major State funding is still being requested for a new Pittsburgh arena, US Airways Maintenance Facility, and eventually, an expansion of Philadelphia's convention center.
Without the large Science Center expansion originally proposed, they will not have the space to reassemble the historic Buhl Planetarium equipment and artifacts. If these historic artifacts are dismantled and placed in storage, they will never be reassembled.
The City has not concluded lease agreements, with the Science Center, for the artifacts--only three Memoranda of Understanding. The Lease Agreement for the Buhl Planetarium building, between the City and the Children's Museum, gives the City the right to control the location of the historic artifacts, so long as they are not in "an area that would conflict with Tenant's use of the Premises."
The Zeiss Projector can be kept in the basement pit, without conflicting with the Children's Museum's use of the Theater of the Stars.
Two-thirds of the third floor Observatory is neither heated nor air-conditioned. It would not be cost-effective to heat and air-condition this space. The Observatory can be used for storage, with the telescope remaining.
The Mercator's Projection Map of the World and Nat Youngblood's "Rise of Steel Technology" Mural can remain adjacent to their respective walls, out of the way. And, these two artifacts can continue educating children in, what will become, the Children's Museum's cafe.
Due to the Science Center's failure to meet the RFP specifications, it would be a violation of law to lease these objects to the Science Center. I ask this Council to ensure that the law is not violated. The City can use its legal rights, under the Buhl Planetarium lease, to maintain these artifacts in the Buhl Planetarium building.
The lease of the historic artifacts to the Science Center would be a violation of law, and it would relegate the artifacts into storage, as dismantled fragments, forever !!!