City council passes ordinance allowing residents to appeal races, parades in area

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Charity races are popping up all over the city, but the commonly used fundraising tactic by local charities may be set to take a hit.

Memphis City Council members recently passed an ordinance allowing residents to appeal street closures for races or parades near their homes.

Race organizers are being asked to submit a special event permit at least 90 days before the event.

"There are a lot of criteria that needs to be established and it will add to the cost of events," Barry Roberson with Breakaway Running said.

He added this ordinance could push race organizers to alter routes, using local parks instead of city streets.

This change could hurt attendance and ultimately the amount of money raised by race organizers.

"The possibility is that it limits the number of events and people who want to do them," Roberson said.

But Cooper-Young residents Stacy Smith and Kevin Gallagher said this ordinance is helpful.

"When you live in the heart of town, that's part of the fun, and it's also part of the challenge," Smith said.

They said often races block them from leaving their neighborhood, forcing them to park outside of the race route in order to get around town the day of a race.

Though the criteria on how a citizen appeal will be evaluated by the council is not clear, Smith said the appeal process is a good option for citizens looking to speak out.

"Anything that gives citizens more of a voice, I think is a good thing," she said.

City council members made it clear that this ordinance applies to races and parades--not protests.

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