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Pride Parade Should Stay in Boystown, Survey Finds

By Erica Demarest | September 26, 2014 5:31pm | Updated on September 29, 2014 7:52am
 More than a million people turned out for the 2014 Pride Parade, held June 29.
More than a million people turned out for the 2014 Pride Parade, held June 29.
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Bill Whitemire

LAKEVIEW — Lakeview residents don't think the Pride Parade should move Downtown — at least according to a survey conducted by Ald. Tom Tunney's (44th) office.

The alderman asked ward residents last month to complete an online survey on the future of the LGBT parade, which drew more than a million people to Boystown this year. Roughly 3,400 people participated. Fifty-five percent said they wanted the historic celebration to stay put.

"The survey indicated that Lakeview residents want the Pride Parade to stay in our community, but it also indicated that neighbors want to see real reforms," Tunney said in a statement Friday.

The alderman has said he'd be willing to move the parade to Grant Park after his office was bombarded with complaints about trash, public urination, crime and crowds.

"The Pride Parade is a part of Lakeview’s tradition but we need a larger police presence after the parade that reflects the size of the crowd and keeps our residents safe," he said.

More than 70 percent of respondents said there were plenty of police officers during this year's parade. But when asked about post-parade mayhem, only 48 percent felt like there was enough of a security presence.

Police said at this year's parade they made 45 misdemeanor arrests from 5 a.m. on parade day to 5 a.m. the following day. Two others were arrested for felonies after they damaged a police car and tackled an officer, respectively.

"We've always said: It's not the parade, folks," Tunney said a week after the June 29 parade. "It's everything that happens from 4 in the afternoon to 4 a.m. or 5 a.m. Monday morning."

Crime, congestion and traffic were the top concerns for survey participants.

About a quarter of respondents said they thought the parade went well. But three-quarters voiced numerous complaints, ranging from litter and public urination to the length of the parade.

Nearly 20 percent said their No. 1 concern was crime. Another 17 percent went with large crowds and traffic congestion. The third biggest complaint was post-parade activity with 12 percent of votes.

Of the nearly 3,400 people who participated, about 60 percent said they lived in the 44th Ward. Sixty percent identify as LGBT, and three-quarters actually attended this year's parade.

When asked what would make the 2015 parade better, nearly 30 percent of participants said they wanted more pedestrian access. Another 20 percent said the parade should be shorter.

"I will use the feedback from this survey as I continue to work with our City departments and fellow aldermen to evaluate options and improvements for next year," Tunney said.

Here are the complete results:

Pride Parade Survey Results

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