At long last the Rivers Casino is open, and by nearly every measure, it's an unqualified hit with guests and civic officials alike. And if you haven't seen the spectacular light feature from the "drum" at night, you owe it to yourself to see what will most certainly be a new Pittsburgh icon. President Ed Fasulo and CEO Greg Carlin are to be congratulated for bringing Don Barden's vision to life.
But what I can't figure out is, what happened to all those who objected so stridently to this project when Mr. Barden first presented it in 2005?
The magnificent casino that stands on Pittsburgh's North Shore is the very same plan that Mr. Barden presented to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board four years ago ... right down to the carpet, the building design, the "drum" and everything in between.
Yet Mr. Barden was sued, vilified and forced to beat back every challenge thrown in his path until the teeth of the oncoming recession eventually caught up with him.
Yet through all that, Don Barden kept his word and delivered on the world-class casino he promised on the day he won the gaming license. So I can't help but wonder, where are those detractors now?
Mr. Barden left Pittsburgh with his integrity intact, and the Rivers Casino stands as a legacy to his grand vision. That's his blood, sweat and tears in the mortar of that casino, and the imprint he left on this community will be felt for many years to come.
Skutski & Oltmanns Inc.
The writer is the former spokesman for Don Barden and PITG Gaming LLC.