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Downtown Pride Parade 'Logical Step,' Tunney Says - But It's Complicated

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DNAinfo/Justin Barbin

LAKEVIEW — After Lakeview residents complained about trash, drinking and violence, Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) said moving the Pride parade Downtown would be a logical step — but it might not solve neighborhood woes.

"We've always said: It's not the parade, folks," Tunney said Tuesday night at a community meeting. "It's everything that happens from 4 in the afternoon to 4 a.m. or 5 a.m. Monday morning."

During last month's parade, two people were arrested for felonies after they damaged a cop car and tackled a police officer, respectively. Town Hall police said they also made 45 misdemeanor arrests from 5 a.m. parade day to 5 a.m. the next morning.

Tunney's office received dozens of complaints — ranging from public urination to safety concerns.

"Logically, the next step would be to go Downtown," Tunney said. "The gay community is part of our entire city. We've arrived as a city."

But "the question we have in our office is: So, it moves Downtown," Tunney continued. "The problem is not then the parade. The problem is the post-parade. What does our neighborhood look like at 4 p.m.? ... Are we going to have these throngs of people coming up here [after the parade] without the extra police, without the extra sanitation?"

Tunney said there were about 500-600 police officers on hand during the June 29 parade — not to mention horseback units for crowd control and extra sanitation help.

"The city spent unlimited resources on it," Tunney said, adding that he's worried Lakeview will lose that help if the parade moves.

Still, "we've kind of exhausted our neighborhood routes," Tunney said. In 2012, the parade route was extended north into Uptown to alleviate congestion and make more space for police and ambulances.

The alderman said Tuesday he met with Mayor Rahm Emanuel and will spend the next few months figuring out what to do with the parade in 2015.

He also reminded residents he's seeking re-election in the 44th ward.

"I can tell you that I plan to run again," Tunney said. "I have a love affair with the neighborhood."

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