Pittsburgh mayor calls for end of city 'trashing'

Mayor Bill Peduto announced Sunday that the city will bill all parties responsible for the cost of cleaning up after Saturday's Luke Bryan country-western concert at Heinz Field on the North Shore.

“Enough is enough,” Mr. Peduto said. “The continued trashing of our city has to stop.”

The mayor said there is no reason that large events like the one Saturday should force city taxpayers to bear the burden for out-sized amounts of garbage removal and public safety response.

More than 50,000 people attended the concert, many of whom began tailgating as early as 11 a.m. in preparation for the 6 p.m. event. Public safety officials responded to more than 300 incidents related to the concert. Officers arrested seven people, broke up 15 fights and answered 154 calls to 911. City medics responded to 100 calls to 911 and transported 34 people to hospitals.

Although the city had overnight crews emptying garbage cans and flushing and sweeping the streets, they were still picking up garbage from boaters along the Allegheny River.

“We've worked too hard to build the quality of life in Pittsburgh to let others get away with destroying it,” Mr. Peduto said. “My administration will investigate further ways to hold promoters more accountable for these costs and impacts, while recognizing the economic benefit such large events bring to our publicly owned facilities.”

By midday Sunday, the privately owned parking lots around Heinz Field were clean, with no unsightly garbage or debris. The owners had already taken the initiative to clear them, the city said.

This year's concert cleanup, however, was not nearly as severe as what happened last year during the Kenny Chesney country concert at Heinz Field, said Mike Gable, director of the city's Public Works Department.

READ MORE: Mayor's office looking for ways to limit city's costs in large events

“The debris that was left over from the Kenny Chesney concert raised everybody's anger a little bit,” Mr. Gable said.

“The country-western people, they come in droves,” Mr. Gable said. “They like their concerts. They like to party, and as a result of that there's a little bit of a mess. But I think everybody this year did a good job planning for it, to lessen that impact.”

Tim Grant: tgrant@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1591. First Published June 22, 2014 1:27 PM

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