City of Savannah working to keep Chippewa Square safe during Saint Patrick’s festivities

Chippewa Square changes

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - With Saint Patrick’s Day right around the corner, Savannah city departments are partnering to keep Chippewa Square cleaner and safer than last year.

The Saint Patrick’s Day Parade rolls in less than two weeks, and in a news conference on Tuesday, city leaders laid out what they expect from spectators, and what can happen if those rules aren’t followed.

This year, there will be a modified Recorder’s Court from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

“I can tell you now, the judge is not going to take guilty pleas from intoxicated people,” said Buddy Clay, Recorder’s Court administrator. “They’re going to make sure that we do everything by rules of procedure.”

The city says litter, underage drinking, public drunkenness, and public urination are four infractions it’s focusing on.

“Make sure that people understand that when they’re out here littering and creating havoc and leaving a mess behind, there’s a consequence for it, so we can start tapping down some of that kind of behavior,” Clay said.

Hearings will happen in the courthouse, but Chippewa Square will be a staging area of sorts.

“Our code enforcement marshals and our Savannah Police Department folks can bring those folks over here, and they can be transported to Recorder’s Court from this location,” said Susan Broker, director of Special Events, Film and Tourism.

Broker says the city is even working on parking pedicabs at the square to take people to the courthouse. Those with fines will have a special incentive to pay on the spot.

“It will be a lower fine than it will be the following week when you go to pay it online,” Broker said.

To help keep things clean, 60-70 Sanitation Department employees will start picking up litter at 3 a.m. Saturday before the parade, and 3 a.m. Sunday after it.

During the parade, they’ll put additional trash bags near the cans already along the route.

“Hopefully, people have enough opportunity to put your litter where it belongs, and that does not include on the ground,” said John Denion, Residential Refuse Collection director.

The parade committee says the adjutants will also give out trash bags in the staging area and along the parade route.

The city also isn’t allowing styrofoam coolers, tables, or tents in Chippewa Square this year. It also plans to close the square around 4 p.m. or about an hour after the parade ends.

“Throughout the city, we are asking people to step back and say, ‘Is this really what we want our community and our event to look like?’ I don’t think anyone would say yes,” Broker said.

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