BNY Mellon plans to restore once-occupied Mellon Green
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BNY Mellon is moving to restore Mellon Green, the privately owned Downtown park that was taken over by Occupy Pittsburgh protesters for four months last fall and winter before they were evicted in February.
Representatives for the bank will brief city planning commission members Tuesday about their plans for the park, which has been closed to the public since the last of the protesters marched out of the encampment on Feb. 8, two days after a court-ordered eviction deadline.
In a filing with the planning commission, BNY Mellon calculated the cost of the restoration at $485,000, much higher than the $70,000 to $100,000 estimate it gave last winter.
Lane Cigna, a BNY Mellon spokeswoman, said she could not give a timetable for the reopening of the park, located at Sixth Avenue and Grant Street, adding that the bank is focused "on working through the city's approval process."
She also declined to provide details on the restoration itself, saying that BNY Mellon wanted the planning commission to hear them first. She added the plan "restores the integrity, beauty and security of BNY Mellon Green."
BNY Mellon already has removed old soil compacted by the protesters and their encampment, which included tents, and replaced it with new top soil. It also has made repairs to the park's irrigation system.
The planning commission application said the restoration includes landscaping, post and chain fencing and gates.
Occupy Pittsburgh protesters moved into Mellon Green Oct. 15 as one of the offshoots of the Occupy Wall Street movement that shot up around the country to protest economic inequality.
BNY Mellon filed a motion for a preliminary injunction in December, arguing that the protesters were trespassing and creating a nuisance.
Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Christine A. Ward ruled in February that Occupy Pittsburgh was causing the bank "immediate and irreparable harm" and must leave the park.
While a few protesters stayed beyond the eviction deadline, all ended up leaving peacefully, even as they declared victory. Early into the occupation, protesters estimated that 50 to 60 people were sleeping in tents in the park. By February, that number had dropped to the single digits.
First Published June 22, 2012 12:00 am