Tuesday, September 16, 2008

No Traffic Worries for Uptown Event

Amanda Fondriest

Uptown trick-or-treaters will only have to worry about the amount of candy they collect this year. That’s because Athens City Council approved the Athens Uptown Business Association's(AUBA) request, Monday night, to close Court Street during their annual uptown trick-or-treat event next month. AUBA Chairperson Josh Thomas says closing Court Street during the event is not only an issue of safety but also one of prevention.
"All it takes is just one accident," Thomas said. "So we just said this year, if we can just have the street closed so we're not in fear that the kids aren't going to have any trouble with the traffic that would work out a lot better."

Brennen's owner Josh Thomas discusses the need for closing Court Street for this year's event.

The number of kids trick-or-treating has increased from 100 in 2005 to well-over 400 in 2007, so it seems the change comes just in time. As approved Monday night, Court Street will be closed between Union Street and Carpenter Street from 5:00-7:00PM on the day of the event.

City Council

However, some details of the uptown trick-or-treat event are still up in the air. The issue of parking came under scrutiny at last night's Athens City Council meeting.
Council member Christine Knisely introduced the ordinance request for the street closing. Knisely says that parking will be prohibited between 2:00-7:00PM, to provide both citizens parked on Court Street and towing companies adequate time to clear the street.

Athens City Council member Christine Knisely recommends prohibiting parking on Court Street.

When the ordinance was brought into discussion, Council Member Nancy Bain expressed concern for uptown businesses. Bain says that businesses will lose customers if parking is restricted.
"[It's] going to disrupt the uptown area substantially: having parking removed at 2:00 PM," Bain said.

Athens City Council member Nancy Bain questions the need for parking limitations.

At the conclusion of the meeting, members agreed to review the need for parking restrictions. The next Athens City Council meeting is September 29 at 7:30 PM in the Council Chambers on the third floor of the City Building.

Event Details

Even with parking details still in question, the event will continue as planned. It is scheduled for Monday, October 27 from 5:30-7 PM.
The event began in 2005 after Thomas and other members of AUBA found that several Athens neighborhoods did not have trick-or-treating.
"We said there's got to be a place for kids to go, a safe place also," Thomas said. "So when they come up town hopefully they feel and their parents feel they're in a safe environment and they can still have a good time, collect candy, and not have to worry about where to go to trick or treat."

Brennen's Owner Josh Thomas explains how the event came to be.

To assist parents with children in strollers, business owners will hand out candy outside their business. The event is open to children of all ages. Even those, Thomas says, who are still just kids at heart.

Brennen's owner Josh Thomas invites all members of the community to attend the event.

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