Aurora Pride Parade back on, if group can raise cash by April 30

The Aurora Pride Parade will happen this year, after all, if enough money can be raised by April 30.

Mayor Richard Irvin announced the plan Tuesday at his biweekly news conference.

The city is billing Indivisible Aurora about $28,000 for the parade. Indivisible Aurora needs about $17,000 more by April 30.

The city has already promised to provide a $3,000 grant, and Downtown Aurora also is putting up $1,500.

Officials from the police department and the special events office detailed the costs the city has started charging organizers of private parades and festivals. The city council voted in January to charge for police protection, fire and emergency medical workers, street crews, barricades, garbage pickup and more. The city determines how much of each an individual parade or festival should have.

Police are reluctant to release how many officers would be stationed at the parade. But they did provide costs for overtime for 40 officers, including two cadets, six sergeants and two lieutenants: $18,943.

The city estimates other costs at about $9,000.

That includes a new requirement: providing dump trucks to be stationed at the entrance and exit to a parade or festival, to prevent an attack by vehicle.

Crowd-control barricades are now required, too.

Mirna Lopez-Rivera, vice president of the Aurora Puerto Rican Cultural Council, attended the news conference. She said the council has canceled its 47th annual parade, due to the cost.

"We are very saddened because we have been around for 47 years. The opportunity that is being offered to the Pride Parade I believe should be offered to us as well," she said.

The mayor said city staff would work with the Puerto Rican Heritage Festival parade organizers.

Irvin refused to say what would happen if the fundraising goal is not met by April 30. "We're going to raise enough money," he said.

But the GoFundMe page says the parade won't happen if the amount is not reached. The money would be saved for a 2020 parade.

The parade is scheduled for June 9. Indivisible Aurora wanted to have a two-day festival this year.

Donations to the Pride Parade may be made online through a GoFundMe page titled "Aurora 2019 Pride Parade," or mailed to its office at 3015 E. New York St., Suite A2273, Aurora, IL 60504.

Dump truck requirement questioned

Todd Van Ohlen, an organizer of a two-day ukulele festival to be held downtown, criticized the dump truck requirement at a committee-of-the-whole meeting after the mayor's news conference. The festival will be held in Water Street Mall, which is next to City Hall between Galena Boulevard and Downer Place, and Mundy Park, an adjacent "pocket park."

"We are way, way, way over-paranoid in my opinion," he said. He said he could only think of five times worldwide in recent years where a vehicle was used as a weapon.

"You are more likely to die in a hot-air balloon accident," he said.

Rather than spending $910 a day to rent a dump truck (plus pay for its driver), he said the city should concentrate more on preventing guns at festivals.

Cost concerns scuttle Aurora's gay pride festival, parade

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