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Council confirms St. Patrick's changes
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THE TRADITION of staking out the squares on St. Patrick’s Eve is no more.

On Feb. 28, the Savannah City Council approved the permit for the 184th annual St. Patrick’s Day parade, but there are some strings attached. No one can enter the squares or reserve territory before 6 a.m. on the March 14 parade day -- not even Great-Uncle Harry, who’s been guarding the “family spot” for the last 50 years.

Make sure you eat and go to the bathroom before you leave home. Grills, amplified music, advertising and -- especially -- public urination will not be allowed.

Forget kissing soldiers, cadets or bellies. Barricades will be placed on Lafayette and Chippewa squares, as well as on the corner of East Broad and Bay streets.

A parade shuttle will run from Oglethorpe Mall to the downtown area between the hours of 7 a.m. and 5 p.m., but it will cost $5 per adult.

The council also approved a resolution for the annual blowout. This year’s St. Patrick’s Day Festival will take place on March 14 and 15 on River Street.

Party Central will be bounded on the north by the Savannah River, by Factors Walk on the south, by Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard on the west and the East Broad Street Ramp on the east.

That area will be designated the River Street Controlled Zone. City Manager Michael Brown was authorized to implement regulations and controls that will be in effect in the controlled zone on March 14 from 8 a.m. to 1 a.m. and March 15 from 8 a.m. to 3 a.m. The wrist-band fee was set at $5.

As usual, River Street will be closed to traffic throughout the duration. Bay Street also will be closed beginning at 8 p.m. on March 14 and 15.

Want to party? The gated entrances to River Street will be located at Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, Lincoln Street and East Broad Street.

But don’t party too hearty. Police will have their very own 3 to-6-foot buffer area next to the river. Six lighting towers will be installed on River and Bay streets to illuminate dark areas and discourage illegal activity.

The council also approved portable toilet rental -- 308 units in all. Of those, 12 will be used during Tara Feis on March 8 and 296 will be used for St. Patrick’s Day events.

One matter has not been resolved. The council is trying to arrange nighttime shuttles out of the Historic District, but negotiations with Chatham Area Transfer have been stalled by labor rules, and local trolley companies refuse to offer the service without a police officer riding on board each and every trolley.