The conversation went on longer than it takes elite athletes to complete a 5K race.
But the Naperville City Council on Tuesday night, after roughly 45 minutes of discussion, decided to consider the addition of three 5K races to its already-closed 2014 special events calendar.
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The calendar is packed with 45 events, including six 5Ks, five races of other lengths or types, and seven charity walks.
But representatives of a group planning a race not on the calendar spoke to the council asking to run a 5K at 8 a.m. Sunday, May 18, at Freedom Commons in north Naperville.
The Rotary Club of Naperville International Committee's request to host a race spurred consideration of whether that event -- and two others placed on a waiting list because organizers applied too late -- can be accommodated.
"This is a good thing in a good location that incorporates another part of town that has been underutilized," council member Steve Chirico said about the Rotary's proposed race, which would aim to draw 1,000 people to raise funds for projects that improve health in India and Nigeria. "It frustrates me when governments say no without trying. I think we have to try."
Staff members in special events, police, fire and public works will take the next month to evaluate whether the city can provide the services necessary to allow the three additional 5Ks to take place. Seven of eight council members directed staff to bring the topic back at the Feb. 18 meeting, but council member Grant Wehrli said considering extra events after the calendar has been closed disrespects organizations that followed procedures and puts additional burden on city resources.
"I don't think that by circumventing our process we're doing ourselves any favors," Wehrli said. "I cannot support this, but hopefully next year we can get this event up and going."
Each year's special events calendar closes in December of the previous year, allowing organizers of races and festivals to know they have secured their requested date and giving city departments time to plan traffic control, parking and security.
"A big part of that is so we don't tax city resources," City Clerk Pam LeFeber said.
When groups contact the city after a given year's calendar has closed, they are put on a waiting list. Council members asked for review of the two races on this year's waiting list when they moved to consider the Rotary 5K.
"I would like to see it happen if possible," council member Joseph McElroy said about the Rotary race, "if it's not going to put an undue strain on city finances or person-power issues because of where it's being held."
Review over the next month will go over each race's proposed route and determine the costs the city would incur. Chirico predicted it would cost between $8,000 and $13,000 for each additional 5K, but City Manager Doug Krieger said determining estimates would require meetings to review logistics, develop traffic plans and possibly conduct traffic studies.
"It's not just one person with a spreadsheet saying 'here's how it works out,'" Krieger said. "It's a fairly lengthy process."
The proposed location for the Rotary Freedom 5K Run/Walk, on the north side of town instead of along the Riverwalk or elsewhere downtown, may help its cause, council members said.
Organizers said they could plan the event with 60 to 75 days notice if the city allows it.
"The Freedom 5K Run/Walk would be a wonderful event for the city of Naperville and for our beneficiaries," said Rachel Ossyra, co-chairwoman of the Rotary Club of Naperville's International Committee. "We would have the opportunity to touch many lives."