St. Patrick's parade committee works out deal with Baltimore

February 18, 1993|By Laura Lippman | Laura Lippman,Staff Writer

The wearing of the green almost became the warring over green when city officials asked the St. Patrick's Day Parade to kick in more money for services.

But the parade's organizers and City Hall have worked out an agreement that keeps the parade on its traditional route through the heart of downtown.

"They were super-cooperative," parade chairman James A. Jones said yesterday of city officials. "They cut us a deal, there's no doubt about it."

The city, strapped for money, now asks organizers of special events to pay new and higher fees for services such as police, sanitation and traffic control. Last month, the March of Dimes Walk-A-Thon decided to take a hike to Baltimore County, citing the increased costs.

In the case of the St. Patrick's Day Parade, Mr. Jones said, the city initially asked for more than $12,000 in fees for services. The parade committee, which had budgeted about $40,000 for the event, could not afford the city's price.

Parade organizers then considered three options -- paying the new fees, canceling or leaving Baltimore. Of those choices, Mr. Jones said, only a new site was considered viable.

In fact, the 38-year-old parade, which claims to be the city's largest, received several queries from other locations, Mr. Jones said. "I won't say to what jurisdiction, but we had a number of offers," he said.

Instead, the parade organizers and city officials sat down last week and quickly reached an agreement that both sides described as amicable. Mr. Jones declined to provide specific terms but said this year's parade, slated for March 14, will cost about $42,000.

Mari Ross, an assistant to Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke, said the city wants to work with all special events to ensure they will remain here.

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