Updated 01/23/2013 10:27 PM
Parade officials address changes
The Binghamton St. Patrick's Day parade is set for March 2nd, but some are worried how a downtown facelift might affect the celebration. YNN's Chris Whalen went on assignment to get some answers.
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BINGHAMTON, N.Y. -- It's almost that time once again: The Binghamton St. Patrick's Day parade is just around the corner.
But the scene may be a little different this time around. In the dead center of the route is something that wasn't there a year ago: The traffic roundabout at the intersection of Court, Chenango and Exchange streets. Because of this new infrastructure, some groups say they'll be unable to perform.
"One of our groups is on a very large flatbed trailer, it's our pep band, because it's a very large group, and we play a lot of great pop music, popular music that the audience loves, but we're just too large to fit through the round about," said Binghamton High School Band Director Joel Smales.
Parade officials say they have suggested organizations try to bring smaller floats or vehicles if possible, but no groups have been told they cannot participate because of the change to the roadway.
"We don't expect any major issues. We are allowing fire trucks and there are going to be floats and again, most people will not notice anything different," said Parade Committee Chairman Tom Kelly.
City officials agree. Mayor Matt Ryan has defended the roadway since its inception and says any size vehicle can fit. One precaution the city is taking is making sure there is ample crowd control in that area.
"Nobody is going to be on the inner part of that roundabout and we'll have perimeters around so we'll have some barriers there to make sure people aren't too close," said Mayor Matt Ryan.
Parade officials also say they want to make sure the crowds along the entire route are safe and will use this year as a learning curve for how to navigate the roundabout for future celebrations.