Please let me know what you think about this ... I'm sending it in to the PG in response to the guy who sent a letter to the editor in today's paper.
This letter is in response to gentleman who spoke so highly of Mario Lemieux and the Pittsburgh Penguins. How people can verbally bash Mario astonishes me. Lemieux has done so much for this city ... from keeping hockey in this town for the past two decades (for the sports fan) to raising millions upon millions of dollars for cancer research and the Mario Lemieux foundation (for the non-sports fan). Ask anyone who follows sports in the area, or any media personality in general, and almost all will tell you that #66 has done more for this city than any professional athlete has before.
So I ask you then ... what is wrong with him asking for something in return. As so many people INCORRECTLY believe Lemieux and the Pens partnership with the IOC will involve absolutely NO TAXPAYER DOLLARS. If they are awarded the license the IOC will build the team a new arena basically for free! Plus, they will spend about another $700 million on developing the area around the arena and the Lower Hill District. Lemieux is not asking for tax payer money to support his "play thing" he is asking for their support to keep the team here and to support the best slots license proposal for the Pittsburgh area.
And lets look back one year ago ... when the NHL was steadfast in its lockout. The city of Pittsburgh lost between $50-$60 million dollars without the Pens. In my estimation that amount would only grow in the future if the team leaves town ... especially if they could've had a new arena.
And one more thing ... lets not forget the Mellon Arena is not used solely for the Penguins. If the team leaves town after next season because they are not in the process of building a new facility it would be a shame for all those who support the Pens and all those taxpayers who don't. You know the old saying ... 'Be careful what you wish for ... you just might get it' well that is my warning for all those who want the Pens to move. Why? Well if the team and the IOC is not awarded the slots license, a new arena will not be constructed. The Mellon Arena is well over 40 years old and is designed very poorly for other events, such as concerts and shows. The number of shows that bypass Pittsburgh due to the inadequate design of the Mellon Arean will only continue to grow. At that point then local, city, and state officials will deem it necessary to build a new facility. Oh, and by the way, this time it WILL BE using taxpayers' money.
So ask yourself ... Do you want the city to keep the team here and continue bringing in revenue for the city? Do you want an arena constructed at no cost for you? Do you want an additional $700 million in development for the Lower Hill District? Or would you rather see the Penguins leave town and in 5-6 years down the road have your tax dollars go towards the construction of a new arena that could've been built for free 5 years prior? I know my answer!
And remember ... 'Be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it!'