Mayor Craig Johnson said a Fourth of July festival held jointly by the Village of Itasca and Hamilton Lakes is going to disrupt life for his residents. Johnson said the village was not notified soon enough about the festival's size and thus, has to limit parking for fire safety reasons to a single side of 15 streets on Saturday, July 4, affecting between 400 and 500 households.
The festival is being held from 6-10 p.m. at the Hamilton Lakes Office Campus, at I-290 and Thorndale Avenue. This area borders Elk Grove Village.
"To our chagrin, we did not know the magnitude of it until a couple of days ago," Johnson said. "We're very disappointed in the fact that Itasca had not met with us earlier."
Johnson said he has received phone calls from residents who are worried about where their guests will park. He said it is unfair that a festival outside of Elk Grove's boundaries burdens residents and police officers, who will have to monitor areas near the event.
"Our residents should be upset," Johnson said. "I have empathy for them."
Ciura said the parking restrictions will have a ripple effect because guests visiting his neighborhood will have to park blocks away as they compete with festival goers for a reduced number of spaces.
"The parking is tight to start with," Ciura said. "This is going to be total confusion in our neighborhood."
Johnson said attendees have to pay $20 to park at the festival and thus have turned to parking on Elk Grove streets in recent years. He said this creates safety issues because emergency vehicles cannot pass through quickly enough to respond to emergencies.
Johnson said he and his staff will be meeting with Itasca's elected officials to discuss better options for future events, such as providing shuttle services to remote parking areas.
"If you want to have these large events in venues that can't handle it, you have to do stuff like that to make it operational," Johnson said.
Itasca Village Administrator David Williams said he was surprised about the ill will, as he has not heard from Elk Grove officials or residents. He said Elk Grove police officers have attended planning meetings, beginning over a month ago.
"This event is clearly not a surprise," Williams said. "It is widely publicized."
He said Itasca expects between 40,000 and 50,000 attendees but that the festival has not grown significantly in the last five years. He said Itasca did not ask Elk Grove to restrict parking but said it is a wise decision.
"We always want to be good neighbors to them and we hope they enjoy our event as much as we do," Williams said.