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Pride change called a compromise

December 22, 2011|By Mick Swasko, RedEye

Chicago Pride Parade organizers, Ald. Tom Tunney and church officials have reached an agreement to move the annual march back to its noon start time after leaders at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Boystown voiced concern a new route and time would interfere with services.

In a joint statement released late Wednesday, Tunney (44th) and parade organizers said a compromise was reached. When parade organizers announced in October that the parade's route and time had changed, with the parade starting at 10 a.m., church officials said the route would make it difficult for parishioners to attend mass on June 24, a Sunday.

Talks between the church and other officials ensued.

"Some people like the change some people didn't," Pride Parade coordinator Richard Pfeiffer said of the decision, which was reached last week. Pfeiffer said the original decision to hold the parade earlier was intended, in part, to curb drinking during the event, but "good faith" talks led to the decision to keep the parade at its original noon start time. He also added that in the future, he would like to see an earlier start to the parade.

"Everyone agreed that they didn't want to see this parade canceled," Max Bever, director of communications for Tunney's office, said, adding that the office didn't want to see issues like overindulgence and safety concerns that shuttered the South Side St. Patrick's Day parade shut down the Pride parade.

Bever said the new, longer route for the parade will help police and fire officials keep a better eye on crowds.

"Having one direct route will be easier for police to monitor open containers as well," he said. "At the very least this new route will present an opportunity to keep a lid on it so to speak."

Rev. Thomas E. Srenn, who heads the church, said he was happy with the outcome.

"Everyone at the table believes we reached a reasonable and good solution," he said.

mswasko@tribune.com | @mickswasko

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