The future of the Pittsburgh Public Safety Training Center in flux

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

This week, all but one of the council members voted in favor of re-allocating $400,000 from the project, which had been planned for years. Leaders of the old town hall initiated plans to expand the overall facility on the former Veterans Medical Campus in Lincoln-Lemington.

Council chair Theresa Kail-Smith, who voted to re-direct funds, told Channel 11 she was “very committed” to the facility, noting that its development was initially her idea.

“I believe from my conversation with the administration that they are also committed to it,” she said. “However, it may not be the ideal place, so they are considering other sites because the cost has increased so much.”

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

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Kail-Smith said she didn’t want those funds wasted and therefore voted to reallocate the money to paving streets.

“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 address an infrastructure issue.”

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

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

He sent us the following statement: “It is essential that our public safety employees receive the resources necessary to carry out the increasingly difficult tasks that we ask of them. Training is the top priority. I’m afraid we’ll forfeit our commitment to the public safety training center if we continue to reallocate planned funds to other projects.

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

Channel 11 has contacted public safety officials for a response, but had not received one at the time of this article’s publication.

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