Friends of the Zeiss

P.O. Box 1041

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

Telephone: 412-561-7876

Electronic Mail: < >

Internet Web Site: < >

Statement Before

Pittsburgh City Council:

2002 November 4

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.

I want to thank Jim Ferlo for bringing our need to receive public information on a major City project to the attention of City Council. Late last week, we did receive much of what we had requested, from the Department of General Services.

We received a Lease Agreement, dated October 24, between the City and the Pittsburgh Children's Museum, for the Buhl Planetarium building. However, this document does not specifically indicate what the Children's Museum will do with the building, while they cannot proceed with the project they detailed before this Council last Spring. There is still a need for this Council to convene a cable-cast public hearing or post-agenda meeting, to learn the details of their new plan.

We did not receive any documents indicating that Lease Agreements exist between the City and The Carnegie Science Center. We received three Memoranda of Understanding, between the City and the Science Center, regarding three artifacts: Zeiss II Planetarium Projector, 10-inch Siderostat-type Refractor Telescope, and Mercator's Projection Map of the World. We also finally received the Science Center's response to the City RFP.

The Science Center's RFP response did present a detailed budget for the dismantling, transport, storage, and reassembly of the three artifacts, at a total cost of $111,020. However, we received no evidence that the financing of this amount is complete and secured. In fact, the Science Center response states, "CSC is prepared to raise funds to cover design and fabrication of display costs, but will require others to meet the costs prior to storage."

Page 3 of the City RFP requires "Complete and secured financing arrangements." Hence, without "Complete and secured financing arrangements," Lease Agreements cannot be executed, and, without Lease Agreements, the Science Center cannot remove the artifacts.

Until there is some certainty regarding the Children's Museum's proposed expansion project, it makes no sense to go through the risky procedure of dismantling and storing precision instruments and artifacts, with irreplaceable parts. And, the projected dates to reassemble the artifacts, given in the Science Center's RFP response, are meaningless when the Science Center still has to raise $62-90 million to reconstruct their building.

Premature removal of these artifacts, and alterations of the Buhl Planetarium building, will result in:

1) Historic equipment and artifacts that remain disassembled for an indefinite length of time, or possibly forever, providing no benefit to the residents of the City; and

2) A building, which may be unusable for its original purpose, should the Children's Museum make certain building alterations yet is unable to complete the project and terminates the Lease Agreement.

Today, we are sending a letter to the Department of General Services requesting copies of the Lease Agreements with the Science Center, when they are executed, as well as detailed information regarding the "Complete and secured financing arrangements" at that time.

In the meantime, Friends of the Zeiss offers to help maintain these artifacts while they remain in the Buhl Planetarium building. We are willing to cooperate with The Carnegie Science Center, to ensure that these artifacts no longer deteriorate from lack of maintenance. We will await a reply from the Department of General Services. Thank you.