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updated: 2/19/2014 5:07 AM

Naperville says no to two new 5K events

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Naperville's special events calendar will not be getting any busier this year as the city council decided Tuesday night not to allow two additional 5K races to take place in town.

A proposal to allow Rotary Club of Naperville and Scullen Middle School to add races to the already-closed special events calendar failed to gain a majority among council members at a deadlocked 4-4 vote. Mayor George Pradel was absent.

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The proposal would have reopened the 2014 special events calendar, which was declared full in December with 45 events. Opening the calendar could have allowed Rotary to host the Freedom 5K Run and 2-mile Walk on May 18 and the middle school to host the Scullen Sprint on Sept. 27 or 28, although both came to the city after the deadline to get on the calendar had passed.

Council members Paul Hinterlong, Doug Krause, Joseph McElroy and Grant Wehrli prevented the calendar's reopening as they voted to keep the city's event-planning procedures in place. Six 5Ks, five races of other lengths or types, and seven charity walks already are among the 45 events approved for this year.

"At some point, you have to have a cutoff in order for the city to look at their resources and make sure they are providing services," Krause said. "Because someone fails to plan ahead, that shouldn't be our responsibility to address that issue."

The city closes the events calendar before each year begins to allow staff members enough time to plan public safety and logistics for festivals, races, charity walks and more. Event organizers who request a date after a given year's calendar has been closed are put on a waiting list for consideration the next year, City Clerk Pam LeFeber said.

Council member Steve Chirico led the push to continue consideration of additional events and allow the Rotary and Scullen races to be run. He said closing the calendar could limit the ability of hotels or other large property owners to host private functions on their land if the events would need a police presence or city services.

That's because the city defines a major event as anything that requires street closures, use of city property, no-parking or tow zones, a liquor license or on-site city support such as police officers.

"We shouldn't automatically say no," Chirico said. "A lot can be done without a big impact on city services."

McElroy said the city gave enough consideration to the additional 5K races by directing the staff to review them over the past month. LeFeber said staffers determined it would have cost the city $6,500 to support the Rotary Freedom 5K and $1,000 for the Scullen Sprint 5K.

Hinterlong said council members would like to see the events occur, but allowing them after the deadline had passed would set a dangerous precedent.

"We have to draw a line at where enough is enough," he said.

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