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'It Would Smell Really Bad': Volunteers Work To Cleanup Lake Elizabeth In Allegheny Commons

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- A couple dozen volunteers gathered to do some "summer cleaning" on the city's North Side Tuesday morning. They worked to clean out Lake Elizabeth in Allegheny Commons, removing dumpster loads of "muck."

"This pond, this park, all of it makes the North Side a great place to live," volunteer Bruce Ledewitz said.

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

Ledewitz lives just blocks away from the North Side park. He felt compelled to be one of the couple dozen volunteers.

"It's just this beautiful green space. A place of peace and calm. A place to talk with your neighbors. A place to walk. It's just great," Ledewitz said while raking up debris.

This is the fifth year for the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, Public Works and volunteers to clean up the popular North Side spot. They try to get it done before we get deep into the summer season.

"If it doesn't get drained and cleaned out, it would smell really bad," Erin Tobin, a community engagement manager with the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, said.

It's the first year Allegheny CleanWays partnered in the effort. Its offices are just a few blocks away and they provided the dumpsters for all the debris.

"It's such a great asset to the neighborhood. Allegheny Commons and Lake Elizabeth, in particular, it's beautiful," Myrna Newman, with Allegheny CleanWays, said.

Normally, the cleanup effort is on a weekend and has 60-70 volunteers. The pandemic has forced organizers to split up the cleanup days and limiting it to about 25 volunteers.

It's predicted seven to eight dumpsters will be filled on both days with the muck cleaned up off of the lake's bottom.

"We're kind of use to stinky dirty stuff, so we're alright," Newman said.

"Oh, it's wonderful," Ledewitz said with a laugh about the smell.

Organizers said you can still volunteer. They'll be back out again this Thursday. You need to have a mask, abide by social distancing guidelines and you will have to sign a couple waivers.

The hope is to have Lake Elizabeth refilled with water by July 4.


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