‘Major improvements’ cited in handling of Kenny Chesney show

FILE - In this Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014, file photo, Kenny Chesney performs on NBC's "Today" show in New York. Officials in Pittsburgh said they were pleased with the way they handled the Chesney concert Saturday, July 2, 2016, where more than three dozen people were taken to hospitals and multiple arrests were made. Guy Costa, Pittsburgh's chief operations officer, said "major, major improvements" had been made since past concerts. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP, File)

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Officials in Pittsburgh said they were pleased with the way they handled Saturday’s Kenny Chesney concert in the city over the weekend.

More than three dozen people were taken to hospitals and seven arrests were made, but Guy Costa, Pittsburgh’s chief operations officer, said “major, major improvements” had been made since past concerts.

A 2013 concert by the country artist in the city drew national headlines after 73 people were arrested and patrons left behind more than 30 tons of trash.

This year, the city provided 200 portable toilets and distributed free trash bags, and Heinz Field staffers turned away visibly intoxicated ticket-holders at the gates.

“I think that screening helped us out as well,” said Wendell Hissrich, the city’s public safety director.

Pittsburgh police chief Cameron McLay said his officers witnessed an “incredible” amount of alcohol being consumed between noon and 8 p.m. the day of the concert, and all of the arrests and citations were alcohol-related, but officers had to break up fewer fights than in years past.

“For the number of people and the amount of alcohol, those are low numbers,” McLay said.

Officials said the event drew about 40,000 people from across Pennsylvania as well as neighboring states, and about 15,000 people showed up to tailgate outside in the parking lots and along the North Shore.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported that city crews worked until sunrise to clear an estimated 48 tons of garbage from the stadium’s parking lots and along the North Shore.

Next year, city officials plan to issue littering citations to tailgaters who don’t pick up after themselves.

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