'Salute to Blue' gets green light
Event to be held downtown May 31 for family of slain police officer
Members of the Danville Town Council gave their go ahead Tuesday night to "Salute to Blue," a large scale fundraising effort set for Sunday, May 31, to benefit the family of slain Oakland Police Officer Sgt. Irvin Romans.
At their Tuesday meeting, council members heard from Mark Gigliotti of Salute Entertainment. Gigliotti and Tower Grill owner Gordon Clark are co-sponsoring the event, which will be similar to the wine strolls that take place in Danville but on a larger scale with a band and games.
"We're organizing this event for the Romans family," said Gigliotti. "A lot of the merchants are behind us. We're working with the rest to let them know about it." He added, "Some of the merchants are going to be opening up for that day. Father Nature's is opening that night for the first time for dinner."
Gigliotti was asking that the town approve closing down Hartz Avenue from south of the Diablo Road intersection to north of the Church Street intersection. East Prospect will be closed from west of Front Street to west of Hartz Avenue.
While the event itself is expected to run from 3-7 p.m., Town Transportation Director Tai Williams suggested that the roads be closed from 1-8 p.m. for public safety.
Council members expressed their concern that any wine- or alcohol-related activities be confined to restaurants. Gigliotti explained that they will run the event similarly to the wine strolls, which are controlled in much the same way. Wristbands will be sold allowing participants access to the various wine stops through the downtown. The wristbands cost $35 per single or $60 per couple.
He added that merchants will have the opportunity to get a permit to serve wine during the event, something expected to generate traffic among the shops and stores in the downtown.
Councilwoman Karen Stepper said she supported the idea of helping Sgt. Romans' family, but questioned the need for closing off streets in the downtown during the spring Sunday afternoon. "I've seen us doing things like this without a street closure," she said.
Gigliotti explained that the reason for the closure was that they will be staging their entertainment, a Neil Diamond cover band called Super Diamonds, in the street at the intersection of Hartz Avenue and Diablo Road.
"We understand that this is a prime time for the merchants," he said. "That's why we're going to be having games - to encourage families to come out and join in."
Councilwoman Candace Andersen agreed that while the town is reticent to shut down the major arterials, an event like this one warrants such measures.
"This is a one-time event, not an annual event. I'm not opposed to it at all," she said.
The council gave their unanimous approval for the street closures for the event. Afterward, Stepper requested that a study be done after the event to see what effect, if any, it had on downtown merchants.