Friends of the Zeiss††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Statement of

P.O. Box 1041††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† †††††††† Glenn A. Walsh

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15230-1041 U.S.A.†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† †††††† Before

Telephone: 412-561-7876†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Pittsburgh City Council:

Electronic Mail: < friendsofthezeiss@planetarium.cc >††††† †††††††† 2004 September 21

Internet Web Site: < http://www.friendsofthezeiss.org >

 

Good morning, I am Glenn A. Walsh of 633 Royce Avenue, Mount Lebanon. I am Project Director of Friends of the Zeiss.

 

In 2002, the City of Pittsburgh permitted the dismantling of three historic pieces of equipment and artifacts from the original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science: Zeiss II Planetarium Projector, 10-inch Siderostat-type Refractor Telescope, and large Mercatorís Projection Map of the World. The City permitted The Carnegie Science Center to store these dismantled artifacts in a warehouse (former Miller Printing Company building) across the street from the Science Center building. There are some additional City-owned assets, from the original Buhl Planetarium, which may also be in storage in the Science Center warehouse.

 

As I pointed out in a statement before City Council on May 19, 2003, this warehouse is located in a flood plain which was flooded in June of 1972 due to the remnants of Hurricane Agnes. Flood waters from the Ohio River, this past weekend, did not reach the Science Center warehouse this time.

 

However, it is quite possible that rain runoff, from the very heavy rains on Friday, did enter the warehouse and may have affected the historic Buhl Planetarium equipment and artifacts. Early Saturday evening, just after the Ohio River crested at 31 feet, I noticed a small pond of water had collected in a low section of Reedsdale Street which runs along the north wall of the Science Center warehouse. The City of Pittsburgh had placed barriers to prevent traffic from using this one block of Reedsdale Street. I also noticed that three storm sewer catch-basins, around the perimeter of the warehouse, were clogged and overflowing.

 

From the rain runoff flooding I did observe outside of the warehouse, there is a definite possibility that some of this water may have entered the warehouse and affected the historic Buhl Planetarium equipment and artifacts. Please note that although the Science Center may have insured these City-owned assets, historic equipment such as the Zeiss II Projector, which prior to dismantling was the oldest operable major planetarium projector in the world, could not be replaced if damaged by flood waters.

 

In a September 20 letter to Bill Peduto, Chairman of City Councilís Standing Committee on General Services, Technology and the Arts, Friends of the Zeiss has asked that Mr. Peduto investigate this matter, asking The Carnegie Science Center management three questions:

 

1)†††††††††††† Was there any flooding in The Carnegie Science Center warehouse this past weekend, and did this flooding have any affect on the historic Buhl Planetarium equipment and artifacts?

 

2)†††††††††††† What is the current condition of the historic Buhl Planetarium equipment and artifacts stored in this warehouse?

 

3)†††††††††††† What steps are being taken, by The Carnegie Science Center, to prevent damage to the historic Buhl Planetarium equipment and artifacts, by a future flood event?

 

We asked Mr. Peduto to report the results of his investigation to City Council and the public at a City Council meeting within the next few weeks.

Thank you.††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† gaw