PITTSBURGH — Mellon Square Park is a busy spot for Downtown visitors and workers looking for a space to have lunch or pass through, but some people are complaining about its safety.
A top parks official sent an email to city leaders urging them to clean up what she called grotesque and unsafe conditions.
“I see this every day. It needs to stop. It makes me sick,” said Joe Kleppich.
Keppich is talking about tossed syringes, trash, and even apparent human waste at the park.
Another man, who asked to stay anonymous, said he travels for work and does not often see what he has witnessed in Mellon Square.
“I’m amazed. People passed out, throwing up, doing whatever, I don’t know, going crazy, zombified,” said the man, “Sick. Scary, you know.”
Channel 11 went to the area after obtaining a memo written earlier this week from the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy CEO to leaders with the Mayor’s Office and Public Safety Department requesting immediate help.
The memo claims a staff person had called 911 after witnessing a knife fight one morning as dozens of people were hanging around, allegedly under the influence. The memo calls the park an “iconic investment” with conditions “worsening” fast.
Despite some of the dangers, it appeared that the park had been cleaned up since the memo was sent and there was a fairly significant police presence at the park.
Pittsburgh Councilman Anthony Coghill, chair of the council’s homeless committee, said they will soon announce a plan for more transitional housing.
“We see the homeless population growing and when the weather gets nice, it tends to compound that so we’re hoping we can get people off of the streets where we don’t have the type of instances that we’re having in this beautiful park,” said Coghill.
Coghill says he would hate to see businesses begin to leave the area.
“This city is the hub for Western PA. We need this city to thrive. We need to clean it up. The city of Pittsburgh needs to do that. I believe that Mayor Gainey will take the necessary steps to do,” said Coghill. “It’s a difficult problem, as we all know, but we are making strides toward it so with any luck Pittsburgh will bounce back.”
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