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Athens City Council prepares for Halloween bash

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With regard to the saying, “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” the Athens City Council proved once more that it is never too early to prepare for the onslaught of visitors that is Halloween weekend in the city during Monday night’s meeting.

Each year, the city plans the event months in advance to facilitate the necessary safety and vending measures needed to guarantee a fun weekend. This years’ celebration, occurring on Oct. 26 and 27, expects large crowds from not only Athens but other surrounding cities as well.

The first of the many ordinances discussed during the meeting concerned open and glass containers in a public area during the festivities and established a glass-free zone around Court St. The ordinance describes the meaning of a glass-free zone, what is considered city property and the understanding of what counts as a glass container.

“This (the ordinance) will create a minor misdemeanor for people who are in violation for this,” First Ward Rep. Kent Butler said.

The glass-free zone is determined by the city service safety director and a glass container is considered to be any container made of more than ounce half ounce of glass, crystal ceramic, or any other material likely to shatter when dropped onto or struck by a harder material, according to Butler.

The council also read an ordinance to close parking on Court St. from Carpenter to Mulberry during the celebration weekend.

“ What the city needs to do to maintain safety and manage the many large crowds,” Third Ward Rep. Michele Papai said.

Vendors will also be accountable for remaining in one location on Court St. as opposed to their normal habit of spreading along E. Union St. and elsewhere.

Current city code calls for noise violations exceeding 12:00 a.m. to be subject to police intervention. Due to the many bands scheduled to perform at two stages, one on each end of Court St., the ordinance has been suspended for Halloween weekend.

Concerns over the exact time the noise ordinance would be enforced as the celebration begins to decline were brought up by a few members.

“Right now we are working with some flexibility on it (the ordinance),” Mayor Paul Wiehl said. “Just because we have closed the streets earlier and usually we try shutting it down around the same time the bars close usually around 1:30 at the latest. How long it takes of course is another matter.”

 

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