St. Patrick's Parade Booted Off East Avenue

The St. Patrick's Day Parade will no longer be on East Avenue. The city cites the permanent closure of the eastern portion of the Inner Loop on November 15.

"Key among the concerns were access for emergency vehicles, the least amount of disruption to established bus routes, maintaining north/south traffic access, access to parking and adequate staging areas. Another priority was to define a route that was as close in length to the traditional route as possible. The process took several months and multiple options were considered," said city spokesperson Chris Christopher in an email.

The new route would begin at the Liberty Pole and go down Main Street. The parade would either end at Plymouth or make a left at Exchange and go to Corn Hill Landing. It's up to the parade committee to decide where the parade will end.

Mike O'Leary, owner of Temple bar and Grill, heard about the change in a meeting with city special event planners on Wednesday. 

"It's disappointing," he said. "It's going to hurt this area, but there's not much we can do about it."

O'Leary said bar owners typically earn two weeks worth of revenue on St. Patrick's Day.

John Billone, owner of City Grill and president of the East End business group, said he was concerned the city didn't tell the businesses until a decision had been made.

"The bottom line is it's a huge economic piece of the East End to our neighborhood and not to be allowed any input, I'm disappointed by that," Billone said. 

Dennis Sutton, owner of Salinger's, said a tradition would be ending for many people in Rochester. "It won't be the same," he said of the Main Street route. "The parade is always going to be there. Is it going to be as successful as it's been? No. Absolutely not, not if goes down Main Street. Main Street's rough. There's nothing going on on Main Street." 

Mark Chiarenza, owner of Murphy's Law, said window tables are booked years in advance for the parade. He said the city should have met with businesses to see if there was a way to "get creative."

"We're really upset. We felt like we didn't have a part at all. We didn't hear about it until this decision was already made," said Chiarenza.

'It's the biggest day of the year for us. If you took New Year's Eve, Halloween, Thanksgiving  Eve, it's bigger than all those days combined," said Murphy's Law owner Johnny Diamantopolous. 

Inner Loop construction is expected to take a couple years, but the parade route change is permanent, the city said.

The 2015 St. Patrick's Day Parade will be on March 14. 

"The good thing is the parade is going to go on," said Brian O'Connor, a member of the parade committee. He said the parade committee had no choice in moving the event. "The unfortunate thing is there's a lot of businesses that rely on the parade...That's between the businesses and the city."

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