Cleanup gets into high gear after the city's big party


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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 in Baltimore 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 artwork was part of the cleanup efforts that followed this weekend's EQT Pittsburgh Three Rivers Regatta, Pirates baseball games and Fourth of July 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 Saturday. He was overseeing his firm's workers as they hustled to gather up and remove trash from the tip of the Point, where the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers meet to form the Ohio. ISM had about 24 employees in its two cleanup crews. They were joined by workers from the city's Public Works Department and the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

Saturday's 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 Independence Day events.

"Looks like they are on top of things down here," Ben Stahl of Forest Hills said of the initial cleanup 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 and along streets in the Golden Triangle. Crews also had to work around food sellers and other merchants who were hauling away their stoves, fryers and coolers.

Tim McNulty, a spokesman for Mayor Bill Peduto, wrote in an email that city crews would concentrate cleanup efforts Saturday in Point State Park, North Shore Riverfront Park and South Shore Riverfront Park. They also would be working to clean up extra trash from Grandview Avenue and other Mount Washington locations that are popular viewing sports during fireworks.

Squaring away multiple sites created a challenge for the city's Public Works employees, Mr. McNulty said Saturday afternoon.

Pittsburgh officials and Mr. Dongilli also praised the cooperative attitude shown by many of the 500,000 to 750,000 people who came into the city during the three-day regatta and Independence Day celebrations.

Mr. Peduto has been critical of the behavior of some concert goers who left behind mounds of trash after a performance last month by country singer Luke Bryant at Heinz Field. The mayor said at a news conference June 23 that he was looking into ways to make event promoters pay a larger share of the extra expense for police and public works services.


Len Barcousky: lbarcousky@post-gazette.com or 724-772-0184.

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