Break out the green beer. Dunedin is partying for two days this year. The Dunedin City Commission on Jan. 24 approved the revocable license agreement, road closure and extension to two days of the St. Patrick’s Day downtown celebration.
DUNEDIN – Break out the green beer. Dunedin is partying for two days this year. The Dunedin City Commission on Jan. 24 approved the revocable license agreement, road closure and extension to two days of the St. Patrick’s Day downtown celebration.
City staff had originally recommended that the festivities only take place on Sunday, March 17, but Trina Cooney and her son, Dale, owners of Flanagan’s Irish Pub which hosts the event, asked the commission to extend it to Saturday as well. All the other St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in north Pinellas County that she knows of are having two- or three-day events because St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Sunday this year, she said.
She also has agreed to hold off on any music and entertainment until after 1 p.m. out of respect for the churches in the area, and having it over the two days would help to recoup some of the costs that she pays of putting it on.
An initial concern was that the road closures would negatively impact downtown businesses by having them closed for two days in a row and that it would interfere with the Saturday morning Green Market. However, a compromise was reached where roads in the “safe zone” – the area that will be closed off that is outside of the main event area that will be a dry zone buffer to help with crowd control and safety – will not get closed off until 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 16. This would allow for plenty of parking for shopping and the Green Market.
The roads closed will be the following:
• The event site portion, on Main Street between Douglas Avenue between Highland Avenue, including the Ocean Optics parking lot.
• Safety zone: Douglas Avenue between Monroe and Wood streets; also Main Street from Broadway to Douglas Avenue.
The safety zone will be monitored by the Sheriff’s Office, and alcohol in this area is prohibited, said Vince Gizzi, city parks and recreation director.
The main event areas of roadway will be closed from 7 a.m. Saturday morning until early Monday morning, but the safety zone roadways will be open until 2 p.m. on Saturday, with the actual event beginning at 5 p.m.
Mayor Dave Eggers had wanted to postpone a decision on whether to allow the event for two days until the Feb. 7 meeting, giving city staff enough time to ask more community groups how they feel about it. However, Trina Cooney was worried that they may not be able to get enough county Sheriff’s deputies for the event because the department already is stretched, with numerous events going on those days.
Commissioners Julie Ward Bujalski and Ron Barnette said that though they usually would not like to rush into a decision without proper time to consult the community, they wanted to allow the businesses enough time to make proper arrangements and to be able to reserve enough deputies.
The commission voted 4-1 to approve the two-day event and the road closures. Eggers dissented.