DOWNTOWN FOLLY: Committee tries to clean up Pub Crawl

Tamora Rosenbaum


This year’s pub crawl will look a little different than previous St. Patrick’s Day celebrations thanks to the efforts of the Downtown Core Events Committee.

The City of Brookings is paying $800 for Port-a-Potty rentals, the Park and Rec Department is providing additional garbage cans and Brookings City Police are putting in about $1,800 for more police protection.

Although there are new initiatives in place, there is also a recurring theme: behave. Police Chief Jeff Miller said a “zero tolerance policy” will be in effect for the celebration on March 17 and any pub-crawler caught with an open container or engaging in public urination will be cited.

Chris Stoltenberg, manager of Cubby’s Sports Bar & Grill and co-owner of the Nine Bar and Nightclub, said the additional police force is something that he and other bar owners always encourage.

“When you have that many people converged in one area, just like when you go to a concert or something like that, you always want to make sure everything runs well,” he said.

Nadine Streier, senior consumer affairs major from Eden, S.D., has mixed feelings about the DCEC’s new contributions.

“To me, it seems like when people are intoxicated they don’t care what they’re doing or whether there are more garbage cans,” she said. “More security will probably be helpful because there are always a lot of fights [during pub crawl].”

The additional amenities will not be limited to this year’s pub crawl, but will also be present during other popular annual events such as Hobo Days and SDSU graduation day. The DCEC, created on November 11, 2011, is facilitating these changes in response to complaints that certain downtown celebrations get out of hand.

“The DCEC organized last fall in response to some of the complaints about how the downtown area needs additional cleanup several times during the year,” said Downtown Brookings, Inc., Program Manager Vicki Schuster in a written statement. “Our mission is to address concerns prior to, during and after major events in the downtown core area, as well as year-round weekend cleanup. ”

The DCEC is comprised of SDSU students, downtown bar and business owners and city liaisons. Patty Kratochvil, owner of Threads of Memories in downtown Brookings said the DCEC’s measures will foster a better downtown experience for everyone on St. Patrick’s Day.

“We need to be friendly to people coming for the event to socialize and also to customers who come downtown for other reasons. This will help make sure everyone gets along,” she said.

Several main street programs in South Dakota towns of similar size to Brookings and a few other such towns in the U.S. were taken into account before developing a budget for the year.

Schuster said the total budget, covering three major events and every weekend cleanup, will be about $13,000. The Brookings City Police will hire extra officers for the three events at about $6,000 and port-a-potties and clean up will be about $3,500 each.

The DCEC is developing other ways to fund their activities. They are looking into using a 3B fund as well as a pool that bar and business owners will pay into on a monthly basis.

“Bar owners will obviously pay a little more due to the clean up effort and the fact that they benefit from this the most,” said Daniel Roberts, SDSU student and DCEC president.

The DCEC feels this is a reasonable budget that aligns with solutions from cities similar to Brookings.

“We will be in need of funds to cover these expenses which will benefit everyone,” said Schuster. “[It] will help make Brookings a welcoming place to visit and a clean place to stay.”