Following the weekend’s Luke Bryan concert at Heinz Field, the Internet has been abuzz with pictures and videos of people tailgating, people falling in the road drunk and garbage the crowds left behind — not unlike the aftermath of last year’s Kenny Chesney concert.
On Monday, the message from Mayor Bill Peduto's office was that the trashing of Pittsburgh needs to stop.
“What we’re looking into right now is to have a system in place for promoters to bear more of the cost of the cleanup. That’s something that hasn’t been done in the past,” said Peduto's chief of staff Kevin Acklin, who added the city could also pursue limiting tailgate times and boating access for events.
After the concert, trash was left behind in parking lots, on the streets and on the river, thanks to boaters who tied and partook in the tailgating festivities. Acklin said concert-related costs to taxpayers are in the tens of thousands of dollars.
“There were over 300 police calls to respond to incidents that happened at that event,” he said. “Those are 911 that are overburdening our public safety system, taking our police away from the neighborhoods. We had crews from public works working overtime over the weekend to clean up mountains of garbage.”
Acklin said a balance needs to be found to allow large shows to continue to come to the city, but for the mess not to be part of it, or at least the cost of cleanup diverted to the concert promoter, rather than the city.
“There are concerts that happen in this city that don’t result in 300 police calls, that don’t result in mountains of garbage, with boaters dumping garbage into our rivers,” Acklin said. “A lot of people have worked over the decades to make this place livable and clean, and we’re looking for ways to put more policies in place to make sure that these kinds of events don’t trash our city.”
No plans or policies have been proposed yet. Acklin said the city is still in discussion phase, but some options could include a surcharge on tickets to an event or a deposit or bond on an event that would cover costs should the cleanup be excessive. The city is also looking at limiting
Acklin said the city does not intend to single out concerts and would like to ensure that no city facilities are trashed after an event.
As for the work that was done after the Luke Bryan concert, Acklin said sending the promoter a bill for costs incurred is not out of the question. An exact cost has not yet been calculated.