Local News

Festival Leaves Mark on Downtown Sidewalks

Posted July 23, 2007

— The City of Raleigh could end up replacing bricks on downtown sidewalks following an unexpected result of this past weekend's second annual Raleigh Wide Open celebration.

About 25 large stains marked the brick sidewalks along the 300 and 400 blocks of Fayetteville Street, where food carts sat during the weekend festival. There were also dozens of smaller spots where festival attendees ate — and dripped and dropped — fried foods.

Crews from the city Parks and Recreation Department spent much of Monday morning power-washing the sidewalks to erase the stains. The city also hired a private contractor to help with the power-washing.

City officials said it would take a few days for the bricks to dry completely so they can determine if the cleanup effort worked.

If it does not, the city will have to replace some of the sidewalk bricks, which were put in place a year ago as part of the city's $9 million project to reopen Fayetteville Street to traffic.

"We're hoping that by using particular products, we'll be able to remove the marjority of the grease. In instances where that can't happen, we basically have to replace the pavers," Raleigh Parks Superintendent Wayne Schindler said.

The city has some bricks left from last year, but there is no estimate on how much it would cost the city to tear up and replace sections of the sidewalks.

"I don't really know the magnitude of the cost at this time," Schindler said.

Food vendors were to have set up in the street instead of on the sidewalks, but space considerations for a parade down Fayetteville Street likely required that vendors be on the sidewalks, festival organizers said.

Organizers and city officials said festivals like Raleigh Wide Open, which attracted about 100,000 people, often produce unwanted side effects.

"Vendors ought to be more careful about grease dripping onto the sidewalk downtown," Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker said. "At the same time, any time you have a huge party … you're going to have wear and tear. That's part of it."

They said they would learn from the grease problem and that one proposal for the future would require vendors to put a barrier on sidewalks to prevent the problem from recurring.

Had the bricks been treated with a sealant, city leaders said, the grease spots would not have been an issue. But the sealant causes the bricks to become slippery in the rain, which poses a liability issue. The city is also revisiting this as a possibility.


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  • nowayebby Jul 24, 2007

    I saw a car leak oil on that street, I guess we should repave it.

  • NCTeacher Jul 23, 2007

    Is there any way this grease could be considered a safety issue? Would it be thick enough to cause someone to slip, fall and sue the town?

    Because if it isn't about safety and this is all about vanity- they should just leave it. The rain will wash it away and all of the bricks will get more wear and tear as time goes on.

  • nowayebby Jul 23, 2007

    Go-figure, why in the world are you blaming the police for this?? did they drop some donuts on the street?? I don't see anybody else bringing the police into this discussion. What do you have against the RPD???

  • nowayebby Jul 23, 2007

    Go-figure, is that you, is the "gang" here. I am so looking forward to conversing with htem. Or is this a "gang" of 1, as we used to say, OOOOH shake, I'm nervous big boy.

  • independent_thinker Jul 23, 2007

    Seems simple to me. Review news footage of the event. Match the "damage" with the vendor, fix the problem [pressure washed and not replaced, if possible], and send them a bill.

  • itsnews2me Jul 23, 2007

    Once again, the people behind the scenes prove to be a bigger carnival act than Fayetteville Street could ever host.

  • Here kitty kitty Jul 23, 2007

    oooooooooh! Oh my!

  • oldrebel Jul 23, 2007

    many..fried food is bad even for brick??? Ye gads, next year it'll be a vegan only affair.

  • nc911tc Jul 23, 2007


  • nc911tc Jul 23, 2007