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Businesses Hope Increased Second Saturday Security Won't Drive Crowds Away

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(Sacramento, CA)
Friday, October 8, 2010

Last month's shooting killed one bystander, injured two others and pushed lingering safety concerns from residents into the spotlight.  Since then, city officials, business leaders and neighbors have met.  And tomorrow's Second Saturday will feature a few tweaks.  For example, the Art Walk and music will stop a half hour earlier, leading to a strict 10pm curfew for minors.  And, says city spokeswoman Amy Williams:

Williams: "We've increased the number of officers deployed after hours to make the downtown core nightlife vibrant and safe."

But the city and businesses don't want the greater police presence to send the wrong message and discourage people from showing up.  Rob Kerth with the Midtown Business Association says Sacramento's problem isn't Second Saturday - it's gang violence.

Kerth: "I think the correlation that some would draw to the nighttime events is really a false one for this big Art Walk and community get-together that we call Second Saturday."

Still, some Midtown residents, like Vito Sgromo, want the businesses and city to do more - especially about noisy crowds and the garbage they leave behind.

Sgromo: "We are very much in favor of special events, the restaurants, the businesses, the Art Walk.  But this deals more with an event that's out of control that needs to be tightened up or moved.  Really!  That's what we're asking for."

City officials are reluctant to relegate crowds to a fenced-off block party because Second Saturday spreads out over several neighborhoods, from Oak Park to Del Paso Boulevard.

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