Allegheny County

Pittsburgh skate park filled with sand to prevent social distancing violations

PITTSBURGH — The city of Pittsburgh has filled in a skate park with sand after other efforts to keep people away failed.

According to Public Works Director Mike Gable, the West Penn Skate Park in Polish Hill had been chained shut because large crowds of kids were gathering there during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“They are not social distancing, and they are congregating in a small area,” Gable said.

After the park was chained, Gable said people started climbing over the fence and even cutting the locks to get in.

“We have been forced to do this because people are just not listening. They are determined so we have to take extra measures," he said.

This is an extension of the decision to close city parks and playgrounds in March and April and blocking off playground equipment, tennis and basketball courts, Gable told 11 News.

Gable said city officials saw the same measures being taken in California and decided to follow that state’s lead.

“We take no pleasure in doing this, but people are just not respecting the social distancing and the rules. They are forcing our hand," he said.

Two other skate parks in the city, the McKinley Skate and the skate park on Tuxedo Street in Sheraden are “wide open,” Gable said, and there is no way to secure them.