By George Mauzy
Hundreds of Ohio University staff members, volunteers and police officers will coordinate this weekend to help ensure the safety of students and campus visitors and the security of campus during Athens' annual Halloween street party.
Sponsored by the Athens Clean and Safe Halloween Committee, the party draws thousands of visitors to the city each year. The event runs from 2 p.m. Saturday to 2 a.m. Sunday. Because Daylight Saving Time ends at 2 a.m. Sunday, clocks will be turned back to 1 a.m. at that time, and Court Street will remain open an additional hour.
For the first time, the event will include beer garden, to be located on East Union Street in front of the College Book Store and Pilcher House. Temporary fences will enclose the 43- by 115-foot area, and proceeds will help offset the cost of the event.
Also new this year is a third entertainment stage, to be set up on Court Street in the parking lot across from Court Street Diner. A costume contest will take place there from 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday. The other two stages, at Court and Union and Court and State streets, will be used for live music.
Here's a look at weekend preparations and guidelines:
Parking and transportation
Only Ohio University staff and students with the proper permit can park on campus over the weekend, and they are reminded to do so in legal, designated spots and clearly display their permit to avoid being towed.
Campus parking lots will be closed to visitors from 3 p.m. Friday to 7 a.m. Sunday, and temporary or time-restricted passes will not be valid. The Baker University Center garage will close to the public at 5 p.m. on Friday and remain closed until 8 a.m. Sunday. Find more detailed information on the Parking Services Web site.
Paid parking for visitors is available at the Athens City Parking Garage on West Washington Street and the Athens County Fairgrounds on West Union Street. A shuttle will transport visitors from the fairgrounds to the uptown area throughout the weekend for $1 per ride.
Residence hall security
Students living in residence halls may have one registered guest. Guests must have paid a $25 registration fee and are the responsibility of their host. The university pre-registered 2,592 residence hall guests by its Oct. 27 deadline.
Only resident students and registered guests will be admitted to university residence halls over the weekend, and all must wear a residence hall wristband to be admitted. About 85 staff members will be stationed at residence hall entrances on Friday and Saturday to enforce the policy.
Safety and law enforcement
Ohio University officers will patrol campus and the surrounding area by foot, car and bike. Several bike officers from the Lancaster and Delaware police departments will assist OUPD over the weekend.
Local and regional law enforcement officers will patrol the area throughout the weekend. The Athens City Police Department will receive assistance from at least 50 additional law enforcement officers from the surrounding area.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol will have a visible presence on the primary and secondary routes in the Athens area through its Athens, Lancaster, Gallipolis, Jackson and Marietta posts, according to a news release from the Ohio Department of Public Safety. In addition, the Ohio Investigative Unit will step up liquor law enforcement, focusing special attention on liquor permit premises and underage drinking.
University and city safety volunteers will patrol the uptown and campus areas. City volunteers will wear white jackets labeled "City of Athens Safety Teams," while university volunteers will wear green jackets labeled "Ohio Staff." Members of the Ohio University green jacket team, which will number more than 100, will be equipped with flashlights and two-way radios.
Those who need medical assistance for themselves or their friends should alert any law enforcement official or safety volunteer, or call 911. Emergency phones are located at all residence hall entrances and other locations on campus.
Dean of Students Ryan Lombardi has reminded students that the newly implemented Medical Emergency Assistance program is available if they or a friend need medical attention. The program allows students to receive medical help for drug or alcohol abuse without fear of facing university disciplinary action.
Guidelines, safety tips
Additional information and safety tips are included in Halloween guidelines prepared by the university. Any questions about parking should be directed to Parking Services.