Resident wants July 4th parade to be safer

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By Rick Palsgrove
Southeast Editor

Groveport resident and former city councilman Dan Knode fears the tossing of candy from floats and vehicles to the crowd during the city’s annual Independence Day parade could turn tragic.

“Last year, at Tallman and Main streets during the parade, I saw a little kid dash into the street to grab candy and almost get run over by a wagon being pulled by a truck,” Knode told Groveport City Council on April 20. “The driver couldn’t see her.  I don’t think we want to read in the paper about a kid being hurt or killed because they were going after candy in the street. It’s time to either police the throwing of items during the parade or eliminate it like we discussed on council years ago.”

Knode also recommended water bottles as well as political and business fliers not be tossed to parade spectators or given out during the parade.

“It leaves a mess in the streets after the parade,” said Knode.

Council members agreed more control is needed regarding the issue.

“None of us want to see anything bad happen,” said Councilwoman Jean Ann Hilbert.

According to city officials, parade participants who distribute candy are instructed to toss it to the curb, not at people or in the street.

Police Chief Ralph Portier said New Albany eliminated the tossing of candy from its parades in 2011.

“The issue is enforcing it,” said Portier, who added there is a state law making it illegal to toss things from moving vehicles.

Additionally, Law Director Kevin Shannon said the city cannot restrict individuals handing out campaign literature during the parade because that would be an infringement on free speech.
Councilman Ed Dildine opposed completely eliminating parade giveaways.

“I’m not in favor of people throwing things during the parade, but I don’t have a problem with them handing things out directly hand-to-hand,” said Dildine. “If we eliminate all handouts we take the risk of having a parade that’s five minutes long.”

City officials will research the situation and come back with a plan for council’s review.

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