Fair St. Louis’s move to Forest Park this year is presenting the St. Louis Police Department with some unique challenges. That's according to police chief Sam Dotson, who expressed his concerns at a police board hearing Thursday.
This is the first time the annual Fourth of July celebration will take place in the city's largest park. Dotson said the logistics of the fair have taken more time than he would like. But he said it's important to make sure the plan to keep everyone safe is airtight, especially this first year.
"We have a very cookie-cutter approach to policing the Archgrounds for Fair St. Louis because we’ve done it for 20-plus years. We understand the dynamics of it," Dotson said. "If the event stays in Forest Park next year, which is what I think preliminarily conversations are indicating, it’ll be an easier process."
Dotson said the department will be deploying 500 officers to help with crowd and traffic management in the park and surrounding neighborhoods. They’ll also get support from St. Louis County and the state highway patrol.
Fair St. Louis released its traffic plan for the event earlier this week. The highlights:
- Street parking in Forest Park will not be allowed. Shuttles will run from various lots inside and outside the park. Lots in or near the park operated by Fair St. Louis will cost $30
- Sections of Lindell Boulevard and DeBaliviere Place will be completely closed to all traffic. Other sections will be restricted to local traffic only.
- Many of the neighborhood roads around Forest Park in both the city and county will be restricted to local traffic only. There will be no fair parking allowed on those streets.