PNC Park is the stadium in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in which the Pirates lose their home games. It seats 38,365 and opened in 2001. The idea was for it to be an old-fashioned ballpark; the turf is real grass and the Pirates don't have to share it with a football team, which are the major differences between this park and its predecessor.
Once upon a time, the Pirates played in Forbes Field. Around 1970 it was deemed too old-fashioned, so Three Rivers Stadium was built to replace it. Around 2000 Three Rivers was deemed not old-fashioned enough, and so PNC Park was built to replace it.
article1 from the Post-Gazette tells most of the story about how PNC Park was foisted upon a city that didn't want
The city alone couldn't afford such a project, and Republican county
Commissioners Larry Dunn and Bob Cranmer were staunch opponents, so the idea
was hatched to ask voters in 11 counties if they would raise their sales tax
burden to build a new ballpark, football stadium and an enlarged convention
center. Despite the most expensive local campaign in history, and even
though Cranmer broke ranks to ally himself with Murphy and Democratic county
Commissioner Mike Dawida, the referendum bombed.
To this day, you can hear people saying they thought they had said 'no.' But
a backdoor strategy -- a generic Plan B -- had been readied before the 1997
referendum. The key was tapping into the existing 1 percent sales tax
surcharge in Allegheny County without having to ask the voters.
But even that took some tinkering with the Regional Assets District board
that controlled the surcharge revenue. Plan B was one vote short of passage
until Cranmer replaced an appointee who opposed the idea. The local share
for the project -- $143 million -- was approved by the bare minimum majority
in July 1998.
The Pirates' share, $44 million, came in part from the sale of the stadium's
naming rights to PNC Bank, which paid $30 million for 20 years. The
announcement that the new park would be named after a bank was booed at a
Pirates game; some suggested it ought to be named Jammed Down The Taxpayers
A pretty sweet deal, for the Pirates - a new stadium for only $14 million.
At the time, I wished I was old enough to vote so that I could vote down the
referendum. Turns out it wouldn't have mattered.
While I was away at school,
construction began on both new stadiums (the other is for the Steelers) and the contents of Three Rivers were auctioned off amidst
controversy - in part because only a few hundred seats (and other items)
were auctioned off at prices too high for the average fan, while thousands
of seats were either taken by the demolition company or went down with the
stadium. In the meantime, the demolition was being financed by ticket sales
raffle in which tickets cost $10 and the lucky winner got to push the
plunger (a strictly ceremonial plunger, of course, with the actual detonation
controlled by someone else) that
blew up the stadium. Ticket sales didn't come close to covering the cost -
not enough people hated the old stadium that much.
Plenty of interesting stadium-related things happened while the whole story
was unfolding. One of the interesting tidbits is that a drunk
woman managed to somehow accidentally drive through a construction ramp onto
the field one night - that story made it into News of the Weird. Controversy abounded throughout the project as the taxpayers with a grudge accused the
various officials involved of acting out of greed. In many cases, I suspect,
they were right.