Pittsburgh City Hall Gets Mysterious Sand Delivery Hours After Using It To Fill SkatePark

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A pile of sand anonymously left at the door of Pittsburgh City Hall has officials questioning if it may have something to do with the truckloads of sand dumped at the local skatepark as a deterrent to enforce the state’s stay-at-home order.

According to the Tribune-Review, someone dumped sand in a revolving door City Hall on Thursday night, just hours after city officials reported a public works crew put deposited sand in the Polish Hill skatepark.

After spending man-hours and public dollars on rendering the skatepark unusable, the incident is now under investigation by police.

The outlet reports:

Public safety spokesman Chris Togneri said police were investigating the sand dumping in a doorway at the Grant Street entrance to the City-County Building, Downtown. He declined to comment on the possibility the two incidents were related, citing an ongoing investigation.

It’s unclear whether the dumping was captured by city cameras.

Public Works Director Mike Gable on Thursday afternoon said a crew dumped sand into a skateboard park in Polish Hill to stop kids from breaking in and skating. The facility has been closed, along with other city recreational facilities, to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. Gable said people were cutting a lock and jumping a fence to get in.

“We don’t take any pride or pleasure in doing this,” Gable said on Thursday. “The park is closed and we kept the gate locked, but they cut the lock or the chain or they hopped over the fence. People have to listen to what the directive is and the directive is social distancing.”

Gable added that crews have also removed basketball rims and netting from tennis courts.

Some residents expressed that—while a quick-fix to keep people out of the park—sand will have longterm negative effects on its usability for years to come. If it gets trapped in the bearings of skateboard wheels and causes them to seize, the sand will make the park unsafe long after the park is cleaned:

Pittsburgh is only the latest of a string of skateparks across the nation to get the sand treatment in an attempt to deter skaters from congregating there.

South Windsor, Connecticut town manager Michael Maniscalco announced in an automated call to residents that the town’s park would be filled with sand following “continual disregard to comply with the mandatory closure” of the park.

Several men attempted to remove the sand, only to be ticketed by police.

In California, where skateparks are nearly as ubiquitous as Starbucks, city officials haven’t shied away from spending untold man-hours seeing to it that skateparks remain unused during the coronavirus pandemic.

The iconic skatepark at Venice Beach first drew attention to the sand-dumping phenomenon after footage of its 16,000 square feet being filled with sand hit social media.

Venice Skate Park vs LA COVID Social Distancing

Venice Skate Park vs LA COVID Social DistancingCrazy to have captured this footage of the Venice Skate Park being filled in with sand by the LA City.Please do not rip the video, share from this page. Thank you.

Posted by Hunter Weiss on Saturday, April 18, 2020

 

Action sports enthusiasts in the Golden State have taken a different approach to the problem, however.

The use of sand by city officials effectively transformed skateparks into epic dirtbike tracks, and riders in San Clemente were eager to get in a few runs:

The folks even banded together to clear up enough space to do a fair bit of skating:

“They don’t put sand in other parks,” California videographer Connor Ericsson told CNN. “You’re telling me you’re allowed to go to Walmart, where there’s 500 people at once, but you can’t go to the skate park where there’s only a handful of kids who want to be outside because they’ve been cooped up?”

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