What British warships couldn’t do during an overnight attack in 1814, the operator of a front-end loader did in about an hour Saturday morning.
Crews used the loader and dump trucks to take down and haul away 160 tons of sand formed into a sculpture showing the siege of Fort McHenry during the War of 1812. That battle, with “the rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air,” inspired poet Francis Scott Key to write the words to “The Star Spangled Banner” 200 years ago.
Removal of the ephemeral art work was part of the clean-up efforts that followed this weekend’s EQT Pittsburgh Three Rivers Regatta, Pirates’ baseball games and July 4th fireworks.
The sand used to make the sculpture and another 40 tons used to provide a temporary beach for regatta goers would be turned over to the city’s Public Works Department, according to Michael Dongilli, senior vice president of ISM USA, event manager for the regatta. That 200 tons of material would be recycled and then used in other projects around Pittsburgh.
“We hit it pretty hard last night and had a new crew come in this morning,” Mr. Dongilli said. He was overseeing his firm’s workers as they hustled to gather up and remove trash the tip of the Point where the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers meet to form Ohio. ISM had about 24 employees in its two clean-up crews. They were joined by workers from the city’s Public Works Department and the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
Morning efforts concentrated on the area closest to the Point State Park Fountain, which sprays water from an underground river more than 100 feet into the air. The popular spot drew dozens of cyclists, joggers and walkers on a sunny morning after the multiple events on July 4th.
“Looks like they are on top of things down here,” Ben Stahl, of Forest Hills, said of the initial clean-up efforts. Mr. Stahl and his wife Desarae said they often bring their two young children, Maggie and Watts, down to the fountain.
Much work, however, remained to be done in the afternoon in the area adjoining the Point. While food sellers and other merchants hauled away their stoves, fryers and coolers, many trash barrels remained full to overflowing.
Tim McNulty, a spokesman for Mayor Bill Peduto, wrote in an e-mail that city crews would concentrate clean-up efforts Saturday in Point State Park, Northshore Riverfront Park and Southside Riverfront Park. They also would be working to clean up extra trash from Grandview Avenue and other Mt. Washington locations that are popular viewing sports during fireworks.
Len Barcousky: email@example.com or 724-772-0184. First Published July 5, 2014 12:00 AM