Bloomsburg Town Council Tables Plan to Close Parking Lots for Block Party

Parking lots in downtown Bloomsburg will be open under normal enforcement this weekend after Town Council voted unanimously to table a plan devised to deter visitors for this weekend’s Block Party. The Town had announced that metered parking spaces in the lots would be closed from midnight to 6 p.m. on Saturday. A number business people and the Chamber of Commerce expressed concerns about the potential negative impacts on downtown businesses in getting Council to reconsider.

Several businesses in the downtown have special events this weekend. Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble has two daytime performances and its annual Taming of the Brew event in the evening. At least two businesses have promotional events that are set nationally. As the details of the Town’s plan were finalized and businesses notified the first week in April, there was little time or opportunity to adjust.

A Press Enterprise article on April 9 reported that the Chamber offered a compromise of midnight to 8 a.m. for closing the lots. While Chamber president Fred Gaffney did suggest that Council consider a shorter period of time so that metered spaced would be opened up for the start of business on Saturday, a specific timeframe was not presented by Gaffney. The Chamber recognizes that the bars in the downtown are allowed to be open until 2 a.m., and that customers and employees would need additional time to get to their vehicles.

The Chamber renews its pledge to Town Council to work proactively with them on this and other issues that impact businesses. We first learned of the plan to close the lots in late March, and the specific details were not known until last week. Discussing issues at committee meetings and workshops well in advance allows time for careful consideration, and for getting input from stakeholders. We are eager to be a part of this process.

Below is information from the Town of Bloomsburg and Bloomsburg University on other Block Party weekend restrictions:

Bloomsburg University and the Town of Bloomsburg will implement the below initiatives to increase safety and security related to the annual spring event known as “Block Party.”

 SpringFest – Bloomsburg University’s annual SpringFest, an on-campus, non-alcoholic event, will be moved from Upper Campus to the Academic Quad on Lower Campus this year in an effort to increase participation, visibility, and ease of access to University students.

 Residence Hall Visitation Restrictions – Bloomsburg University will temporarily restrict overnight guests in the residence halls to one visitor per student for the evenings of Friday, April 12, Saturday, April 13, and Sunday, April 14, 2019. A professional security company firm will assist in managing guest registrations and enhance front door security. Parking for these guests will be provided in the Blue Lot & the Orange Parking Lots.

 Parking Restrictions – Bloomsburg University will prohibit all parking at the Lightstreet Road Parking Lot and the ATM Parking Lot. Parking on campus will be restricted to persons attending events on campus. Additionally, temporary parking restrictions will be in affect at the First Street (Green) Parking Lot to permit-holders only from 12:00 p.m. Friday, April 12, 2019, through 12:00 p.m. Sunday, April 14, 2019.

The Town of Bloomsburg and Bloomsburg University also ask all participants to keep in mind:

 Neither the Town of Bloomsburg nor Bloomsburg University endorse the Block Party event, and a large police contingency of both uniformed and plainclothes officers will be present.

 Town and University Police both have a “zero tolerance” policy for all violations during Block Party weekend. Parents and Bloomsburg University will be notified of all arrests, and university students will be subject to discipline for violations under BU’s Code of Conduct.

 The Town of Bloomsburg requires permits for social gatherings of 150 or more individuals. Students are reminded that they can be held responsible for ordinance and crimes code violations that occur on property they lease or control.

 The Town of Bloomsburg prohibits open containers of alcohol in public rights-of-way.

 Hosts are responsible for what takes place on the property and risk fines and University sanctions for any violations.