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NEW ORDINANCE WILL PUT DAMPER ON DAYS OF ’47 PARADE CAMPERS

SHARE NEW ORDINANCE WILL PUT DAMPER ON DAYS OF ’47 PARADE CAMPERS

Days of '47 parade watchers will have to find a new camping place this year. A city ordinance passed in early May has made it illegal to camp on the parade route prior to 8 p.m. the day before the parade, to pitch a tent or to save extra spaces.

Salt Lake Police Maj. O.J. Peck said there was a problem last year and in years past with people camping out on the downtown streets up to five days before the parade. He also said one or two people would stake out huge areas for family and friends, which caused "turf battles.""There's just so much property for people, and we want to have it fair for anybody," Peck said. "Traditionally the parade route is one massive campground from sidewalk to sidewalk."

Peck said a full force of police will control parking of any enclosed shelters, including vehicles, along the route. Obstruction of public sidewalks and paved portions of the street with barbecue grills and other items is also prohibited.

"It makes us look like hobo city," said Bruce Osojnak, who owns A Spa Man, 218 E. 900 South, along the parade route.

Osojnak said he agreed with the new ordinance but felt the city went "a little bit overboard in some directions." However, he said enforcement of the ordinance will provide more space for watching the parade and remove some of the tension.

In the past, Osojnak has had problems with the nearly 250 people who camped just in the area of his business, driving on his lawn and attempting to pitch tents or wanting to use the bathroom and telephone.

"It (the ordinance) will make a world of difference," he said.

Because this is the first year the ordinance will be in effect, Peck said, police officers will be issuing verbal warnings. The officers, however, are authorized to issue citations if problems develop, he said. In future years, Peck said, he expects the police department will issue more citations.

"It's quite a drastic change," he said.

Lt. Marty Vuyk, information officer for Salt Lake City Police Department, said officers have been called to altercations along the parade route - from name calling to aggravated assault - which put a tremendous burden on them in the past.

The city has mapped out a massive publicity campaign to alert potential paradegoers of the ordinance. Vuyk said they have scheduled public service announcements and are working with other local media to get the word out. Fliers will also be posted along the route.

"Our biggest concern with this situation is not just people in Salt Lake City or in the valley here, but people coming from outside," Vuyk said.

Salt Lake City patterned the ordinance after one in Provo.