Tuesday, January 13, 2009

New North Shore Neighborhood To Be Built From Beer Cans!!!

2009 "Blackened Gold" Award Winning Story
Above: Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl (left) and Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato conduct a press conference proudly detailing ambitious building plan for the North Shore.

PITTSBURGH, PA--- A unique project involving Steeler fans and their intense love of beer was announced jointly yesterday by Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato. The plan calls for the construction of a new neighborhood on the North shore.

We want to take full advantage of the fact that we’ll have 64,000 fans at Heinz Field this Sunday who’ll be tailgating and drinking a lot of beer, Ravenstahl began. “If every fan will bring with them at least a six pack of cans only“ (he stressed) “We should be able to empty over 384,000 cans of beer.”

Above Left: The now taboo metal beer bottle. Right, the building material of choice.

“We want to put these cans to good use and follow the example set by John Milkovisch in Houston, Texas” added Onorato (ironically the creator of the wildly unpopular drink tax and recently rumored to be an upcoming gubernatorial candidate).

For those unfamiliar with the story, Milkovisch (now deceased) drank over 39,000 cans of beer during a period of 18 years (a six pack per day) and used all of the cans to build a beer can house for himself (Below) .

Above: This is where it all started, the John Milkovisch beer can house in Houston, Texas, soon to be emulated by the construction of Iron City, along the banks of the Allegheny on the North Shore.

“We feel that the late John Milkovisch was such a visionary,” continued Ravenstahl. “He’s someone whom the fans of Pittsburgh will come to admire and want to emulate. Our City of Pittsburgh accounting department did some research for us and found that we should be able to build ten beer can houses with the cans from this weekend alone just by doing what we do naturally at Steeler games.”

“Our plan,” continued Onorato gesturing towards Ravenstahl, “Is that we ask everyone to save their empty six packs and bring them to the collection area roll-off dumpsters at each gate. How many times have we asked fans to bring a canned good to help the food bank? Well these will be empty canned goods, so to speak,” he smiled.

“That’s right,” continued Ravenstahl, “And with the help and generosity of the Pittsburgh Brewing Company, we’re going to use those cans to build the first houses in a new community that will begin to grow along the banks of the North Shore. This gleaming area will come to be known as “Iron City”. “

“The County Planning Department estimates that once we get this project going that we should conservatively be able to erect at least 80-90 beer can houses per year and even more when we make it to the playoffs,” added Onorato. “A SuperBowl year such as this one could develop a whole street. Imagine the tax revenues that this development will ultimately generate for both the City and County. It's a win-win situation."”

“So the Steel City will someday very soon have an Iron City and as this area continues to grow, it will serve as a symbol of what Steeler fans can do with all of their enthusiasm for their team and especially for partying and tailgating. As Iron City continues to grow, I’ve also authorized the city planning commission to look into building other structures such as the Iron City Visitors Center, the Iron City Beer Drinking Hall of Fame and other interesting tourist attractions. In time, we could eventually develop an Iron City Mall to replace the shopping district that was lost when Allegheny Center Mall closed. All of these positives will come about because of Pittsburgh’s love of beer. This will also represent a great opportunity for Pittsburgh Brewing to reclaim some of the business they’ve lost over the years to national companies like Budweiser, Coors and Miller,” concluded Ravenstahl.

“Iron City will be added onto the PAT bus routes and will eventually be connected to downtown Pittsburgh via the new downtown subway connection currently under construction. We want to make Iron City a new Pittsburgh neighborhood and a must-see tourist stop. I’m sure that with a little bit of convincing that we can get President-elect Obama to even throw some cash into the plan,” added Onorato.”Iron City could become one of the trendier neighborhoods in the country with great access to the downtown area, the new casino and of course, the Steeler and to a slightly lesser degree, Pirate games.”

Construction for Iron City is expected to begin this spring and will be another major project going up in the city along with the new North Shore Casino and Consol Energy arena. It's expected that it will further stretch the work force of craftsmen involved already in these other projects.

A source at Pittsburgh Brewing, already familiar with the plan said that the company will "gladly allow the name usage but only if Alcosan will adopt a free water policy "in perpetuity" for the brewery. Onorato did not address this situation today at the press conference.

Of even greater concern is the only negative for the plan, and it's a big one. According to a source at Alcosan (Allegheny County Sanitary Authority) there's serious concern over the impact that 384,000 cans of beer will have on the sanitation system. “That’s about 72,000 gallons of beer hitting our system during the course of a few hours, plus about a million gallons of water to flush it down, plus all the Pepsi, Coke etc. This will create a virtual tsunami of urine in the antiquated Pittsburgh sewage system. This is a scary thought. A big game like a divisional playoff or AFC Championship could conceivably be even worse. If the fans could refrain from “going” at the game until they get home to their suburban sewage system, this would greatly help. Or they can find some secluded spot in between parked cars. At least then it won’t get into the sewage system, at least not right away.”

Above: It's hard to imagine that a surge of urine this large could indeed descend upon Pittsburgh's waste treatment facility this weekend . Below: Part of the threatened plant that could be destroyed by the urine tsunami.

The Alcosan official, speaking only under the condition of anonymity, waxed somewhat philosophically, stating that, "Unfortunately, as every beer drinker knows, you can never own beer, you can only rent it. It will build us a shining new neighborhood, but who's going to pay for the new sewage tyreatment plant? What will evryone else do when we can't even flush our toilets anymore?

Above: Historic Pittsburgh Brewing Company sits on a bluff near the Bloomfield Bridge safely out of harms way from the possible urine tsunami it has brewed there. As with all things in Pittsburgh, this development will no doubt have its' share of detractors.
When in Houston, be sure to visit the John Milkovisch Beer Can House at 225 Malone Street. Open For Tours Saturday and Sunday, 12-5. Call 713-926-6368 for more information. From I-45, just south of I-10, take Memorial Drive exit. Pass Shepherd Drive exit, then make right onto Malone Street.