Valpo to develop rules about races
By James D. Wolf Jr. Post-Tribune correspondent July 4, 2012 6:52PM
Updated: July 4, 2012 9:40PM
VALPARAISO — The city is a popular place for runs, minimarathons and walkathons.
The Board of Works and Safety has had 15 requests for walks and runs so far this year, up from 11 last year, and city staff expects at least two more events will apply for this fall.
Although they’re welcome events, race organizers typically want to shut down major streets for a few hours.
“It’s a good problem (to have),” City Administrator Bill Oeding said. “It’s encouraging the people are out running and that the city as a whole is a desirable place to have a race.”
However, the city plans to develop some rules for those who use the streets and to direct them to use the city’s growing pathways.
Oeding plans to meet with representatives from the police, fire and public works department and then with some race organizers he knows. He received permission to pursue a plan at a recent meeting of the Board of Works and Safety.
Having some designated routes makes it easy for planners, and using pathways will mean fewer impediments for residents and traffic.
“We’re not opposed to their being on the streets. We just don’t want to block streets completely,” Oeding said.
The races have advantages. It’s a sign that Valparaiso’s Fit City program has impact, and most of the races are fundraisers.
“It speaks well of our city that it supports these events,” Oeding said.
Some people also travel to the city to run and support causes they like, which helps the city.
Oeding said it’s hard to say how much that impacts local businesses without larger races held every weekend, but “I’m sure they do have some economic benefit to us.”