Nightmare on Chicago Street, Fourth of July events canceled in Elgin
As many expected, the city of Elgin is canceling its Fourth of July parade and fireworks, but its signature event, Nightmare on Chicago Street, also is being canceled as part of expense reductions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This would have been the 10th year of Nightmare on Chicago Street, which takes place in late October in downtown Elgin and attracted up to 18,500 people in 2017. The city will "evaluate options for a potential downtown-based event in the fall," city officials announced late Monday.
Canceling Nightmare, for which planning starts in March, was a tough decision, city spokeswoman Molly Gillespie said.
"Even if allowed in October, we anticipate many will still not be comfortable in that large of a crowd, and revenues would be much less likely to offset expenses," she said. "More importantly, we do not want to diminish the expectations and high quality production this event has come to be known for. With so much uncertainty, we cannot risk that."
City officials also announced the outdoor pools at Lords Park and Wing Park and Lords Park Farm Zoo will be closed through the summer, and Fish for Fun and the Elgin Summer Theatre also are canceled, according to a news release. Budgeted improvements at Festival Park and a special events marketing proposal are being delayed.
All of these cuts will yield $1,058,000 in savings, city officials said.
Wage and staffing reductions for city employees were implemented effective Monday, and the city postponed work on some capital projects and water and sewer work.
Plans have started for a modified Memorial Day observance at Bluff City Cemetery, and the opening of the Festival Park splash pad is being considered. The city's summer drop-in playground program that provides free lunches to children is being reconfigured to operate with social distancing.
"The city's parks and recreation and special event staff will continue monitoring the changing environment in an effort to resume programming and events when possible," city officials said.