Mayor moves against Mifflin Street block party - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Mayor moves against Mifflin Street block party

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Though the police have already canceled the Mifflin Street block party, Mayor Paul Soglin isn't taking any chances. He's trying to guilt party-goers into making good decisions.

Monday, he presented a symbolic check, made out to summer youth programs in the amount of $190,000 – the same as what it cost the Madison Police Department to control the block party in 2012. 

"This $190,000 represents a sufficient amount of funds that we could basically get 100 kids into day camp for the entire summer," Soglin said.

Soglin says he will reduce the check by every dollar the block party costs police, and unused money will go to youth programs.

"Yes, there's a right to party but that right to party can't infringe on the safety of others, on city resources and our concern for kids who through no choice of their own spend their entire summer in the streets," Soglin said.

Madison Police Chief Noble Wray says that his department has spent more than $500,000 since 2009 to police the event. The two stabbings that happened during the 2011 block party only increased costs in 2012.  

"At one point in time, we felt we almost lost the street. It was very tense. The level of alcohol, the intensity that was there with the crowd, we knew we had to staff up for 2012," Wray said.

Though Soglin hopes that his new community incentive will deter party-goers, some University of Wisconsin-Madison students have their doubts.

"The people who are going to be getting into the violence are not the people who would be really interested in charity in the first place, so that won't really have an effect on them," Laurel Maki, who lives on Mifflin St., said.

Other students offered an alternative closer to home.

"I think if he did something more along the lines of financial aid for students or giving it to UW students, it might have a little more impact, might work a little bit better," Rob Denman said.

The mayor, however, knows his plan will take time. He says that if 50 percent of the funds will go to youth summer programs this year and 90 percent next year, he would consider his community incentive a success.

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