Pittsburgh Welcomes A New Cannonball

May 02, 2018 / Property: Arsenal 201

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In the construction world, setbacks are par for the course. But involving a bomb squad and military reinforcements? Now, that’s a different story.

On site of an old Civil War arsenal in Pittsburgh (hence the name), Arsenal 201 was expected to be built upon lots of history, but not quite so literally.    

Arsenal 201, one of Milhaus’ newest communities, has led to quite the sequence of events. As construction started, our team members quickly ran into a bit of a setback: the discovery of 800+ cannonballs. That’s right, cannonballs.

In 1814, the U.S. Army Ordinance established the Allegheny Arsenal, which covered 30 acres of land throughout Pittsburgh. The arsenal served as a supply and manufacturing center of arms and ammunition and with its peak use being during the Civil War, it seems they kept up with production demands.

“We knew starting the project that cannonballs had been found on the site back in the 70’s and so we went in with a plan in place,” VP of Development, Thomas Bost said.

But even with a plan, the findings left our team with their expectations exceeded. After completing ground penetrating radar prior to construction, the team found a small number of cannonballs while installing water lines.

After this discovery, their first call was to the bomb squad who quickly after arrival, found around 300 cannonballs.

Commander Ed Trapp from Pittsburgh Police Department, who oversees the entire Special Deployment Division, facilitated the process from the beginning. He and the bomb squad secured the site and completed an ‘over-dig’ to ensure there were no more remaining.  Soon after, around 500 more cannonballs were discovered and upon realizing the significance of the cache, Commander Trapp’s team agreed it was time to call in further reinforcements.

Commander Trapp explained, “With such a high number, we realized it was best to reach out to the military, as they are better suited to handle this kind of situation.”

The bomb squad set up a temporary storage area and once the military arrived, they provided a solution for a final disposition of the cannonballs. The teams worked quickly and deemed the area safe. The cannonballs were transported off-site by the bomb squad and rendered safe by the military. Bringing in the military requires getting through lots of layers of government and simply put, is not an easy task. As the safety of the area and our future residents is of the utmost importance to Milhaus, the team wanted to do something in return for the bomb squad going the extra mile for the safety of our community.

Cannonballs Found Onsite

Commander Trapp laughed, “Thomas approached me stating that Milhaus wanted to do something for us and asked if there was anything we needed. Half-jokingly, I said, ‘Well, you can buy us a horse’.”

After confirming that Commander Trapp was in fact not kidding, Bost ran the details past Milhaus’ board. Turns out, the department had long been seeking donations for a horse after budget cuts and so Milhaus, agreed to go in half with another local company for the purchase.

When asked what benefit a horse provides their department, Commander Trapp responded, “Not only is being on a horse a great vantage point for an officer to see what’s going on, it’s been found that a horse gives an instant positive connection between the public and a police officer. People like animals and unlike a dog that people see often, a horse, especially in the city, is an animal that people don’t see much of. In a unique way, it’s good for community relations.”

Today, the horse has been officially added as Pittsburgh PD’s newest member and appropriately, ‘Cannonball’ was voted as a fitting name.

Cannonball the Horse

“I don’t think anyone was expecting to find as many cannonballs as we did. The hard work and proactiveness of the bomb squad was the sole reason we were able to continue our project. When we found out they were searching for this donation, we felt like it was the perfect way to say thank you,” Bost explained.

With 2 buildings ready for leasing and the site deemed completely safe, Arsenal 201’s last phase of construction is set to be wrapped by May 2018. In the heart of the Lawrenceville community, the pet-friendly homes feature luxury amenities including a community pool, outdoor entertainment spaces, fitness center, coffee bar, game room, resident lounge, and is just steps from the neighborhood’s best dining, shopping, and entertainment. The community’s eco-suites, studios, 1, 2, and 3-bedroom units are complete and ready for residents to call home all thanks to Pittsburgh’s PD, bomb squad, and their newest trusty steed, Cannonball.