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Pittsburgh already planning to manage Kenny Chesney 2018 tailgate trash

| Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017, 11:00 a.m.
Piles of trash litter a Heinz Field parking lot on Pittsburgh's North Shore on Saturday, July 2, 2016, after a concert by Kenny Chesney.
Piles of trash litter a Heinz Field parking lot on Pittsburgh's North Shore on Saturday, July 2, 2016, after a concert by Kenny Chesney.
Kenny Chesney’s Spread The Love Tour in Pittsburgh, Saturday July 2 at Heinz Field.
Jack Fordyce
Kenny Chesney’s Spread The Love Tour in Pittsburgh, Saturday July 2 at Heinz Field.

As Kenny Chesney announced that his 2018 tour will return to Heinz Field in June, Pittsburgh fans and officials started planning for one of the biggest events to hit the North Shore almost every summer.

Operations Director Guy Costa said the city will work with Heinz Field and Alco Parking to replicate and expand on practices that have slowly whittled down on the amount of trash and alcohol-fueled mishaps that struck past gatherings of "No-Shoes Nation."

"To be clear: We want people to come to Pittsburgh and have a good time; we want them to drink responsibly and we want them to clean up," Costa said.

As in previous years, the city would work with Heinz Field and Alco to arrange for more dumpsters and portable toilets to serve tailgaters; each carload would get bags for trash and recycling as they enter the lots and contractors would work alongside Public Works employees to start cleaning up as soon as the music starts and once the crowds have left the lots, Costa said.

The parking lots would not open to tailgating too soon before the concert, though Pittsburgh Police would have discretion in deciding when too many cars have lined up outside and open the lots if there are traffic hazards. Mounted police from Allegheny County, State Police and the city's own new horseback unit would give officers a higher vantage point for spotting trouble or passed-out partiers, Costa said. The horses are easier to get into the crowded lots than a police car, and are popular among tailgaters.

"The women at the concert love the horses; they have their cowboy boots and hats and just want to get their pictures with them," Costa said.

Past concerts have attracted tens of thousands to Heinz Field and its surroundings to celebrate and let loose, though the concerts threatened to be known more for their trash than their music.

City officials credited changes they made in 2016 — more toilets, trash bags and turning away excessively drunk patrons at the gates to Heinz Field — with reducing the number of arrests and medical transports that year. The event hit its lowest in 2013, when cleanup contractors complained of abandoned pools, couches and improvised toilets .

Chesney's concerts at Heinz Field go back as far as 2005. He did not appear in Pittsburgh in 2017.

Matthew Santoni is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724 836 6660, or on Twitter @msantoni.

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