Future of Pittsburgh Public Safety training center in flux

The future of a public safety training campus within the City of Pittsburgh hangs in the balance.

This week, all but one council member voted in favor of reallocating $400,000 from the project, which has been planned for years. Leaders of the previous mayoral administration initiated plans to develop the all-encompassing facility at the former Veterans Affairs medical campus in Lincoln-Lemington.

Council President Theresa Kail-Smith, who voted in favor of reallocating the funds, told Channel 11 she is “very much committed” to the facility, noting that its development was initially her idea.

“I believe from my conversation with the administration that they’re also committed to it,” she said. “However, this might not be the perfect location, so they are considering other sites because the cost has escalated so much.”

Soaring material costs and inflation have now added millions of dollars to the campus’ estimated cost, leaders say.

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Kail-Smith said she didn’t want to see those funds go to waste, and, therefore, voted to reallocate the money for street paving.

“Training for our public safety is paramount,” she said, adding that infrastructure is also a top priority.

“We want to make sure we’re taking care of public safety, we also want to make sure we’re taking care of infrastructure, so we don’t need public safety to respond to an infrastructure problem.”

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The reallocation comes after council previously opted to move $1 million away from the project in June.

Councilman Bruce Kraus was the only council member to vote against this latest reallocation.

He sent us the following statement: “It is critical that our public safety employees be provided the resources necessary to perform the increasing difficult tasks we ask of them. Training be the utmost priority. I worry that we may waiver in our commitment to the public safety training facility if we continue to reallocate intended funds to other projects.”

Mayor Ed Gainey, approached outside of the City County building on Tuesday, told Channel 11 he had no comment.

Channel 11 reached out to public safety officials for a response, but had not received one at the time this article was published.

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