Fake Patty’s Day was a major topic of discussion at the City Commission Meeting last night. During the public comments period, Elaine Johannes, Chairman of the Manhattan Special Alcohol Funding Committee, brought the issue to the forefront after requesting the commissioners to take action controlling the celebration.
“This is expected to be one of the biggest Fake Patty’s Days,” Johannes said. “Some people are expecting upwards of 10,000 people.”
Johannes said she decided to come before the commission after chatting with a concerned bar owner, and she mentioned several steps taken by other cities to control their own Fake Patty’s Days, including closing bars and sending letters to parents, warning them about the day and risks to students.
Lauren Palmer, assistant city manager, spoke about steps the city is taking to be ready for Fake Patty’s Day this year. Portable restrooms will be set up around Aggieville, Soldiers from Fort Riley will be providing “Riley Rides,” and Safe Ride hours will be extended to cope with hordes of extra people.
After the comments period, Johannes said the community needed to help limit the event.
“I think citizens and students and people shouldn’t ignore it,” Johannes said. “It’s not just happening here, so it’s a bigger cultural and social issue, and we can take some real good lessons from other universities. It involves personal responsibility by bar owners.”
The Manhattan Special Alcohol Funding Committee receives money to deal with drug prevention and alcohol abuse.
After the public comments period, the commissioners discussed several items that were up for passage.
City Commissioner Bob Strawn brought up several issues that concerned him, including a contract to build three wet labs, which are chemical or biological laboratories that require water and special piping. Strawn said the organization running the project, the National Institute for Strategic Technology Acquisition and Commercialization, which is dedicated to strengthening the Manhattan regional economy, was not communicating well with the commissioners.
“It’s been one of the great frustrations to me that we don’t have the transparency between that organization and us and the university that I can really speak on the project,” Strawn said. “And that lack of transparency frustrates me. That lack of transparency given the taxpayers involvement seems terrible to me.”
The project was approved along with bids for several construction projects including the installation of a Federal Signal Corporation warning siren at the corner of Drake Drive and FordhamRoad.
The commissioners also discussed establishing an Arts and Humanities Advisory Board for the City, as well as a proposed Grease Management Program Ordinance.