Neighborhood activist pleased at new Gasparilla regulations

05/11/09 Mitch E. Perry
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For years, some residents in Tampa’s Hyde Park District have become increasingly angry at the annual Gasparilla Parade event.

The signature Tampa street party brings several hundred thousand people to town in mid-February. Many of those people drink alcohol, sometimes beginning early in the afternoon. That’s led to lots of reports of public urination, belligerent attitudes, and other related aspects of drunken behavior.

In response, the organizers of the event met with some residents for a series of public meetings, culminating in changes to the parade that were announced last week.

Tampa law enforcement officials say they will now "dramatically" increase law enforcement presence in neighborhoods, rather than have officers focus on the parade route, and will enforce a zero-tolerance policy for underage drinking, open containers and public urination.

Vicky Polleyea, president of the Bayshore Gardens Neighborhood Association, calls last week’s announcements, a good first step.

Embarrassing behavior captured on videotape and put on the internet appeared to have spurred organizers to act. Bayshore Gardens President Vicky Polleyea said it was also a case of the local community coming together to try to get something done that really matters.

WMNF attempted to speak with Darrell Stefany, the president of EventsFest, the organization that along with Ye Mystic Krewe presents Gasparilla. We were unable to do so.

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