Rain makes Made in America cleanup sloppier

Posted: September 04, 2012

Efforts to clean up the Benjamin Franklin Parkway after the weekend's Budweiser Made in America concert left a big mess Tuesday, as heavy rain and vehicles worked together to churn grass into mud.

The damage occurred mainly at Von Colln Memorial Field, a popular spot for baseball. On Tuesday, most of the infield and outfield was a mud pit. An occasional forklift, tractor, or other vehicle dismantling staging splashed through and spewed muck everywhere.

Parks officials said they were not surprised by the damage. Nearly three inches of rain over the last two days also contributed to the problems. Similar issues had occurred during the opening of the Barnes Foundation on the Parkway in the spring.

Mark Focht, first deputy commissioner for parks and recreation, said he was seeking an estimate for repairs to Von Colln and expected to have it by Thursday. City officials have said concert promoters would pay the bulk of the city's costs but have not yet disclosed details of expenses related to the two-day outdoor concert, which featured Jay-Z and Pearl Jam and was promoted by Live Nation.

"What we see out there is not unusual at all related to the magnitude of the event," Focht said.

Antoinette "Toni" Levitt, president of the Spring Garden Civic Association, said she was concerned that repairing the fields would leave some baseball teams with no place to play this fall. Focht, however, said that was not an issue because the city is scheduled to begin a $300,000 renovation of the fields starting in the fall and ending in the spring.

Council President Darrell L. Clarke allotted the funds from his budget.

Levitt said that aside from the damage to Von Colln, Made in America caused only relatively minor problems for her neighborhood. Some neighbors complained about noise, public urination, and trash, she said.

Kevin Moran, a spokesman for the Fairmount Community Development Corp., which serves the part of the Parkway neighborhood north of Fairmount Avenue, said his organization had informally asked residents how the concert had affected them.

"By and large, we got a pretty positive reaction," he said. People reported that they were able to go about their days as usual, and bars and restaurants said they got some extra business at night, he said.

Contact Miriam Hill at 215-854-5520, hillmb@phillynews.com or @miriamhill on Twitter.

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