Planning Begins for Halloween 2005

By: Renee Charles
By: Renee Charles

It may only be spring, but there's already talk about Halloween. Madison leaders held a heated discussion Thursday on how to keep State Street safe this year.

"We had up until this point, we've said we're going to welcome this event. In a way it's going to be part of the fabric of Madison…no more. That is no longer the city attitude towards this event," says Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz.

After seein first hand how last year's celebration turned ugly, Mayor Cieslewicz says he's furious and thing must change. "When that crowd was attempted to be broken up with horses, those horses were kicked and punched. If people aren't outraged by this, I don't know what gets your outrage up," he says.

Mounted police were just one of the new tactics used last year to control the crowds. But still, one State Street business owner says the police aren't doing enough. "The department has made slight changes in how you approach this event, and have made minimal progress in overall policing of it," says Dan Waisman.

But the Chief of Police disagrees. "At this time point and time, it is inappropriate for you to focus on police. It is time to hold the ones who are causing this, " says Chief Noble Wray.

So what should be done to keep things under control? Kelly Meuer of State Street Brats says we could restrict entry to State Street. "Have entry points where people get wristbanded, and they get charged $5 to defray costs. Then you can limit how many people are going to be on State Street," she says.

The mayor says another option is to consider closing down bars earlier. "We have that authority. Give us the opportunity to have people drinking fewer hours," he says.

But bar owners say that punishes the wrong people. "The mayor just made the merchants responsible. In that we'll be the ones that are being closed down," says Waisman.

No decisions have been made on what to do this year, but the mayor says there is one easy way to fix things. "If we could make it go away entirely, that would be wonderful that would be great. I'm all for that," he says.

This is just the second of many meetings between city officials, students, and business owners concerning what's being called one of the most outrageous college parties in the country.

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