Palos Park Police Commissioner Dan Polk spells out some of the precautions being taken for the Autumn in the Park Festival. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)
Security measures in place for Palos Parks’ Autumn in the Park Festival
By Jeff Vorva
Although there have not been many problems reported in the South Suburbs since a serious flash mob incident at a carnival in Tinley Park in May, Palos Park officials are not taking any chances.
The village’s Autumn in the Park Festival takes place Sept. 15-16 at the Village Green, 8901 W. 123rd St., and it is expected to draw several thousand people. It is the biggest event that the village hosts and Police Chief Joe Miller and Police Commissioner Dan Polk have a gameplan ready.
“Given the events of the times, we’ve had a number of discussions about safety and planning,” Polk said at the village council’s Sept. 11 meeting. “We have a straightforward and reasonable plan for security during the event.”
After the Tinley Park incident, that village as well as Orland Park, ratcheted up security measures including using metal detectors at the entrances.
Autumn in the Park will not have metal detectors, but Polk said there will be a heavy unformed police presence, including officers from other communities keeping an eye on things as well as video surveillance.
There will be a bag check at the entrances. Weapons, coolers, glass bottles, other breakable items, alcohol and laser pointers are among some of the items that will not be allowed on the grounds.
Those 16 years old or younger must be accompanied by an adult or they will not be allowed into the festival.
Bikes and skateboards are allowed but they have to be walked while on the grounds.
Polk also said the village reserves the right to refuse admission or reject any person whose conduct is deemed to be disorderly.
“We want everybody to have fun, but we want to keep the environment safe,” Polk said.
The event takes place from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Sept. 15 and 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Sept. 16 at the Village Green while there will be a parade starting at 11 a.m. on Sept. 16.
The parade kicks off at 82nd Avenue on 123rd Street and travels westbound to 90th Avenue ending near the festival grounds.
Commissioner Rebecca Petan said traffic and parking could be challenging and suggests that patrons use the Metra lot, 12100 South 82nd Avenue, and take the free trolley to the festivities.
“Parking is limited and it’s hard with the residential streets,” she said. “Believe me, the kids think the trolley is the best part of the trip. Use the trolley. It will help our police and it will help with traffic.”
There will be food, drinks, entertainment, vendors and children’s areas at the fest.
Police are reminding residents that on Saturday September 16, 123rd street (McCarthy Road) will be closed between 96th Avenue (Rt. 45) and 80th Avenue from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. for the Palos Park Autumn in the Park Parade The parade starts at 11 a.m. The event will be on the Village Green at 8901 W. 123rd street. Please adjust your plans accordingly.
Alternative routes for east west traffic will be Rt. 83, 119th Street and 131st Street. North and south streets, 80th open, 86th closed, 87th and 88th closed at 123rd. 81st, 82nd, 83rd, Mohawk, and 93rd Avenue closed at 123rd, as well.
The council voted to award its 2023 roadway project to the Thornton-based Gallagher Asphalt Corporation for $1,066,049. Petan said it was the best and lowest priced of the four bids received and this company worked with the village before without any issues.
The council also voted to decrease the number of Class F liquor licenses by one after a change in ownership from AY Gas Inc. to Palos Gas and Food Inc., 12301 S. 80th Avenue. The new owners declined to sell alcoholic beverages.
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