Chicago's South Side Irish Parade, which was halted three years ago because of public drunkenness and several arrests, is now set to return.
Ironically, Hoboken in New Jersey recently canceled their parade citing the same problems that had bedeviled the Chicago parade.
According to the Sun Times, the Chicago Department of Transportation has issued a permit to the parade committee.
Committee chairman Joe Connelly said late Friday that the parade will march down Western Avenue on March 11. Organizers say that the parade will be family-friendly and that there will be a zero-tolerance policy for alcohol use by anyone.
Alderman Matt O'Shea opposed the parade and sent Mayor Rahm Emanuel a letter on Monday, saying the recent parades had become "rowdy, drunken, and often violent."
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However, the city approved the permit on Thursday after receiving assurances that strict crowd control policies would be set in place, said Department of Transportation spokesman Pete Scales.
“We share the same concerns as Ald. O’Shea,” he told the Sun Times. “The parade committee needs to work with the police to come up with a real security plan that ensures the safety of the neighborhood during the event.”
The parade committee has hired a private security firm to work with local police during the parade, said Connelly. He added that local merchants donated $80,000 to hire S3 Safety Service Systems, a company that provides security for Bears games.
“Safety is paramount to our plan,” he said. “We are serious about having a zero-tolerance alcohol police (sic), and that’s for everybody. Our intent is to have an alcohol-free parade.”
There will be “an exterior boundary” for the parade route, and coolers and bags will be checked for alcoholic beverages.
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