City to make parade decision Feb. 2

John Richmeier
The Leavenworth Times
Leavenworth City Hall

While some commissioners seemed in favor of moving forward this week, the Leavenworth City Commission will wait until Feb. 2 to decide whether to allow the St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

The parade typically takes place each year in downtown Leavenworth. But city officials canceled the event last year because of concerns about COVID-19. Commissioners are now considering whether to allow the parade to take place this year amid ongoing concerns about the pandemic.

The parade is organized by a private committee, but the event requires permission from the city government.

Commissioners discussed the parade Tuesday during a study session.

Tim Scanlon, a coordinator for the annual parade, met with commissioners Tuesday.

Scanlon said city officials canceled last year’s parade five days before St. Patrick’s Day after organizers had been meeting and raising funds for three months.

“I was not happy last year,” Scanlon said. “I think I made that clear.”

Scanlon said organizers of the event will not reschedule the parade for later in the year.

“The Irish are not going to move it,” he said.

He said March 17 is a day of celebration for Irish people all over the world.

Commissioner Mark Preisinger asked the city manager if there has been any discussion with Leavenworth County Health Officer Jamie Miller about the parade.

City Manager Paul Kramer said he reached out to Miller.

Kramer said Miller believes the parade would have a few things going for it this year that it didn’t have last year.

“A lot of things have changed,” Kramer said.

Kramer said people are more knowledgeable about the need for social distancing and wearing masks.

He also noted that the parade will be outdoors and the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines has started.

Kramer said the city also requires a COVID-19 mitigation plan for this type of event. He said such a plan was prepared for the Veterans Day Parade that took place in November.

Preisinger asked if parade participants will wear masks.

Scanlon said he can make this a requirement.

Preisinger said he did not see a problem with having the parade.

Commissioner Jermaine Wilson said he also supported moving forward with the parade.

Commissioner Mike Griswold said he thinks “it’s a little too early to make a decision.”

“The problem is when you plan a parade, it takes some time,” Mayor Nancy Bauder said.

Griswold suggested waiting until Feb. 2 to make the decision. Griswold said he wants to ask the county health officer questions.

“I just think we need to be careful,” Griswold said.

Preisinger said the turnout for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade likely will be lower than in previous years because it will take place in the middle of the week and some people may be reluctant to attend a parade during the pandemic.

He also said that by March 17, a large percentage of local residents may have received the COVID-19 vaccine.

Griswold said he would hate to approve the parade now only to see two weeks of bad COVID-19 data for the county.

Kramer said waiting until Feb. 2 to make a decision would give him time to work with Scanlon on a COVID-19 mitigation plan. He suggested a draft of the plan may be prepared in time for the City Commission’s Feb. 2 meeting.

Commissioners reached a consensus Tuesday to revisit the parade issue Feb. 2.

Twitter: @LVTNewsJohnR

In other business

The Leavenworth City Commission:

• Reviewed the process used by the city for the demolition of structures commissioners consider to be dangerous.

• Reviewed possible fees that may be charged to wireless service providers for the use of city infrastructure and rights-of-way.