New Raleigh office to handle races, parades, pickets
Posted November 5, 2013
Raleigh, N.C. — The City Council on Tuesday approved the creation of a Special Events Office to coordinate and review the applications of events in Raleigh ranging from road races to parades to demonstrations.
More than 350 events requiring street closures were held in Raleigh in the last year, officials said. The events included the maximum-permitted 100 road races, 22 parades and walks and 251 demonstration and picket permits. Scores of block parties and similar events also were held.
Assistant City Manager Dan Howe said more than 1.3 million people participate in such events each year, helping nonprofits raise money and generating revenue for local businesses from visitors.
With the increasing popularity of road races and other events, city leaders said better organization is needed.
"It's obvious to me that we haven't addressed the issue adequately," Councilwoman Mary-Ann Baldwin said.
Baldwin and other council members said better communication is needed to ensure events run smoothly and neighborhood residents aren't adversely affected.
After the Color Run in September, for example, residents of the Oakwood neighborhood east of downtown found colored powder that the racers wore was left on their homes and cars.
"There were some people who were out of town who got cars towed because they had no idea that this was going on when they left town on Friday and came back Sunday night," resident Harriet Skinner said.
The Special Events Office would provide a single point of contact for event organizers and would be responsible for communicating event details to the public, updating application materials and developing a safety and emergency response plan.
The staff also would address popular streets being closed repeatedly, multiple events held on specific weekends, noise issues and the impact of Sunday events on churches.
Several downtown churches have complained about street closures planned for the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon on April 13, which they say will cause problems for people trying to attend Palm Sunday services.
Skinner said she's glad to hear changes are on the way.
"I don't think it's going to be a huge problem if we just talk to each other," she said.