City officials say all went well; making it shorter is not feasible
By MICHAEL KITCH, LACONIA DAILY SUN
LACONIA — When the Motorcycle Technical Review Committee met yesterday to review the 93rd running of Motorcycle Week last month city officials agreed that the rally came and went without significant incident, apart from the deficit left to the city for the cost of providing safety and emergency services for LaconiaFest.
City Manager Scott Myers said that the event passed "not quite on auto pilot but very close"and congratulated city employees for their handling of the complex logistics and large crowds.
"The city departments did everything we expected of them," echoed Charlie St. Clair, executive director of the Laconia Motorcycle Week Association. "Overall everything went very well."
Police Chief Chris Adams said that his officers made some 70 arrests in the course of the niine-day event, , but encountered no serious incidents. He said that the number of officers deployed during the rally has been reduced out of awareness of concerns about "over policing." Captain Matt Canfield said that state officials augmented the number of New Hampshire State Police at the event as a precaution in the wake of the shooting in Orlando, Florida where 49 people were killed and 53 were wounded on June 12, the day after the rally opened. But, Adams said that troopers were deployed on the periphery of The Weirs rather than at the "epicenter" of the event.
Myers said that he heard some suggest that at nine days the rally lasted too long and could be shortened to four or five days without diminishing the event. However, Bob Wolfe of Faro's Italian Grille and the Laconia Roadhouse, which hosts numerous vendors and an entertainment venue, said that a shorter event would not financially feasible. Myers assured him that no one was contemplating restructuring Motorcycle Week, which in any event would require a lengthy process.
Myers explained the problem at LaconiaFest arose when the actual attendance fell far short of the numbers the promoters projected, on which the city based its staffing of police officers and firefighters. Moreover, the promoters failed to escrow the funds to defray the estimated expenses. Although staffing was reduced to match anticipated numbers, its was difficult to to project attendance as the promoters offered free and reduced admission. Myers said that he calculated that shutting down the concerts would have an adverse impact on both the city and the rally and took responsibility for the deficit that left the city $63,130 out of pocket. City Councilor Bob Hamel (Ward 5) was quick to say that the council was regularly apprised of the situation and that the onus should not fall on Myers alone.
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