Demolish Mellon Arena, Or Just Fill It With Awkward Emptiness?

Strange story in today’s Post-Gazette:

For some, it’s a pipe dream. For Aubrey Bruce, it’s a mission.

A former music promoter, Mr. Bruce hopes to save Mellon Arena by recruiting an arena football team, a Women’s National Basketball Association team and an American Basketball Association team to play there.

“Our goal is to save the Civic Arena,” he said. “It’s symbolic of Pittsburgh shedding its industrial skin and moving into the electronic age. It’s a very important symbol, I think, of Pittsburgh.”


Some of my fondest childhood memories involve the Civic Arena, a feeling surely many of my Pittsburgh peers also share, but to me, the thought of demolishing the Arena is far, far less depressing than the idea of keeping it around so people can walk past the giant brand-new Consol Center to go watch a WNBA game in a 50-year-old building that’s 90% empty. Or the thought of people going to watch a WNBA game under any circumstances, really.

I’m all for preserving the town’s history, and my relationship to the Arena is as personal as anyone’s — well, besides maybe “BEER PEANUTS HERE!” man — but the theoretical idea of keeping the building intact as a symbol probably just don’t make long-term sense compared to the non-practicality of maintaining a building of that size when it serves no reasonable purpose, especially when it’s just feet away from a new, awesome, fully-equipped facility. That won’t stop me from posting the obligatory “RIP – CIVIC ARENA” Facebook status when the building finally comes down, but it’s reality.

Also, the ABA is still a thing? Hrm. Learning all over the place today.


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