The party plan is now in place.
City commissioners Tuesday night narrowly approved a plan for The Oread hotel to use portions of city right-of-way for tailgate parties before and after each home Kansas University football game.
“It is a new idea, a new concept that we ought to give a try,” City Commissioner Lance Johnson said as commissioners approved the request on a 3-2 vote.
Details of the tailgate parties include:
• Events would begin three hours before game time and conclude one hour after the end of each game.
• 12th Street in front of the hotel would remain open but lanes would be narrowed as the party will be allowed to extend onto the street. A temporary fence will be installed to separate pedestrians and traffic.
• Oread Avenue will be open, but the event will fill the parallel parking spaces along Oread between 12th Street and the entrance to the KU parking garage. Kid zone activities will be located in that area. Temporary fencing will be installed between the games and the street.
• The Oread’s liquor license temporarily will be expanded to the public right-of-way adjacent to the hotel along 12th and Indiana streets. Alcohol won’t be allowed along the Oread right-of-way.
Now commissioners will wait to see whether they’ve opened a Pandora’s party box. Commissioners heard from area bar owner Rob Farha, who predicted other bars in the area would want to use public sidewalks or streets to sell alcohol on busy game days. Farha, who owns The Wheel near 14th and Ohio streets, said he could envision the bars near that intersection requesting right-of-way access in the future.
“I think The Oread’s idea is great as long as the alcohol sales stay on their property,” Farha said. “Otherwise you’re setting a precedent for everyone wanting to use their sidewalks to sell something on game days.”
Two commissioners also expressed safety concerns about the proposal. Mayor Mike Amyx and Commissioner Rob Chestnut said they were concerned about the proximity of cars to pedestrians gathering near the hotel.
As part of the proposal, commissioners also approved a separate Fall Sports Kickoff Event that will be Aug. 27. That event will involve closing both 12th Street and Oread Avenue from about 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. for a marching band parade.
In an event unrelated to the Oread, commissioners also approved a downtown party that will close a portion of Eighth Street on Aug. 15. The Sandbar received permission to close Eight Street from noon until 1 a.m. for a birthday party for the bar. The event will allow patrons of the bar to consume alcoholic beverages on the city right-of-way along Eighth Street.