South Side Irish Parade organizers appear to be nearing an agreement with the city to hold the popular event March 11 after a two-year hiatus brought on by drunken brawling and other problems around the parade route in 2009.
But there's still the matter of the cost.
Parade organizers sat down with city officials Friday afternoon at what Chicago Department of Transportation spokesman Peter Scales termed "a productive meeting."
"They assured us this would be a family friendly event," Scales said, adding that city officials believe the parade committee can achieve that.
However, the city still must present the parade committee with a bill for various city services related to the parade, which drew huge crowds along South Western Avenue in the Beverly neighborhood in its final years before it was shut down amid widespread fighting, including assaults on police officers.
Although the parade committee's application for the March 11 event has been accepted, a permit is not issued until the organizers prepay for city services that include putting up barricades and parade-route signs.
Parade committee chairman Joseph Connelly said the group hopes to raise at least $200,000 to cover the costs, in part through a Saturday night fundraiser at 115 Bourbon Street in Merrionette Park. But with the parade scheduled to take place in about three weeks, Connelly said his group is eager to get the tab from city officials.
Scales said the city might present the bill to the parade committee in the next week.
After expressing reluctance at the idea of holding a public meeting to tell neighborhood residents about plans to cut down on public drunkenness and other problems from years past, Connelly also said the parade committee has agreed to do so. The time and place for that meeting have not yet been set, Connelly said.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun