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Bank to refurbish park that protesters occupied during winter

Jeremy Boren
| Tuesday, June 26, 2012, 2:52 p.m.
BNY Mellon plans to restore Mellon Green, which Occupy Pittsburgh protesters marred when they turned the private green into a winter camp. The Downtown park’s makeover will come with security features including a post-and-chain perimeter fence, steel gates at entry points and plaques stating that the park is closed between dusk and dawn, said Bill Schademan, BNY’s vice president in charge of corporate real estate.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
BNY Mellon plans to restore Mellon Green, which Occupy Pittsburgh protesters marred when they turned the private green into a winter camp. The Downtown park’s makeover will come with security features including a post-and-chain perimeter fence, steel gates at entry points and plaques stating that the park is closed between dusk and dawn, said Bill Schademan, BNY’s vice president in charge of corporate real estate. Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
BNY Mellon plans to restore Mellon Green, which Occupy Pittsburgh protesters marred when they turned the private green into a winter camp. The Downtown park’s makeover will come with security features including a post-and-chain perimeter fence, steel gates at entry points and plaques stating that the park is closed between dusk and dawn, said Bill Schademan, BNY’s vice president in charge of corporate real estate.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
BNY Mellon plans to restore Mellon Green, which Occupy Pittsburgh protesters marred when they turned the private green into a winter camp. The Downtown park’s makeover will come with security features including a post-and-chain perimeter fence, steel gates at entry points and plaques stating that the park is closed between dusk and dawn, said Bill Schademan, BNY’s vice president in charge of corporate real estate.
A sign alerts those who have been camping out in the BNY Mellon Green park in Downtown Tuesday, February 7, 2012 that they have to leave, thus ending the Occupy Pittsburgh encampment.  (Philip G. Pavely | Tribune-Review)
A sign alerts those who have been camping out in the BNY Mellon Green park in Downtown Tuesday, February 7, 2012 that they have to leave, thus ending the Occupy Pittsburgh encampment. (Philip G. Pavely | Tribune-Review)
BNY Mellon showed concept renderings to the city Planning Commission on Tuesday of security and landscaping changes it plans to make to Mellon Green in Downtown. Source: BNY Mellon; Moore Design Associates
BNY Mellon showed concept renderings to the city Planning Commission on Tuesday of security and landscaping changes it plans to make to Mellon Green in Downtown. Source: BNY Mellon; Moore Design Associates
BNY Mellon showed concept renderings to the city Planning Commission on Tuesday of security and landscaping changes it plans to make to Mellon Green in Downtown. Source: BNY Mellon; Moore Design Associates
BNY Mellon showed concept renderings to the city Planning Commission on Tuesday of security and landscaping changes it plans to make to Mellon Green in Downtown. Source: BNY Mellon; Moore Design Associates
BNY Mellon plans to restore Mellon Green, which Occupy Pittsburgh protesters marred when they turned the private green into a winter camp. The Downtown park’s makeover will come with security features including a post-and-chain perimeter fence, steel gates at entry points and plaques stating that the park is closed between dusk and dawn, said Bill Schademan, BNY’s vice president in charge of corporate real estate.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
BNY Mellon plans to restore Mellon Green, which Occupy Pittsburgh protesters marred when they turned the private green into a winter camp. The Downtown park’s makeover will come with security features including a post-and-chain perimeter fence, steel gates at entry points and plaques stating that the park is closed between dusk and dawn, said Bill Schademan, BNY’s vice president in charge of corporate real estate.

Mellon Green's bumpy ride isn't over yet.

Bank of New York Mellon plans to spend $485,000 to add gates, chains and an undulating landscaped surface to deter anyone from trying to resurrect “The People's Park,” the name Occupy Pittsburgh protesters gave the makeshift tent city they held there from mid-October until February.

“It wasn't that comfortable to start out with,” said Bram Reichbaum, 36, of East Allegheny, an Occupy member.

Spokeswoman Lane Cigna said the bank wants to “restore the integrity, beauty and security of BNY Mellon Green.”

The city Planning Commission reviewed the plans at a briefing on Tuesday. Members could vote on plans as soon as July 10.

No public subsidies will be involved, Cigna said.

If approved, the green's makeover would come with security features including a post-and-chain perimeter fence, steel gates at entry points and plaques stating that the park is open only from dawn to dusk, said Bill Schademan, vice president of BNY Mellon's general services and corporate real estate department.

“I think it's kind of unnecessary. Open spaces are kind of nice,” said Austin Reams, 21, of Beltzhoover, who strolled by the green yesterday afternoon. “I would appreciate it not being gated off.”

A chain-link fence has blocked entry into the park between Sixth Avenue, Ross Street and Grant Street since protesters moved out. BNY Mellon evicted them in December by arguing they were trespassing. A judge ordered in February that the group, a spin-off of the Occupy Wall Street movement against economic inequality, must leave the park because they were damaging it.

The goal is to complete the work by year's end, if the commission approves.

Sara Moore, a landscape architect who works for BNY Mellon, said workers would add soil to build 12- to 15-inch tall waves in the grassy areas of the park.

Moore said the park's dense tree canopy would be thinned over two years to allow more light to filter to the ground and plans call for adding flowers, hedges and a two-foot-wide granite band to delineate between public sidewalks and the private park.

John Valentine, a Planning Commission member, asked Moore if the gates were intended to keep out Occupy protesters.

“The gate is there to close the park on those hours when the park is closed,” Moore said.

Jeremy Boren is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7935 or jboren@tribweb.com.

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