By Joseph Domelowicz Jr.
For the Transcript
Despite the elimination of one of three potential weekend activities celebrating Independence Day in Winthrop – the annual bonfire on Yirrell Beach on July 3 has been cancelled – Winthrop police and firefighters will be fully staffed and prepared to handle weekend revelers and any mischief they may create.
“We are anticipating large crowds from neighboring cities where fireworks displays and celebrations have been cancelled because of budget concerns,” explained Acting Chief of Police Terence Delehanty. “We will still need to bring in an adequate number of people beginning on July 3 to make sure there are no illegal bonfires and other nuisance type crimes that can occur around this type of weekend holiday.”
Delehanty estimated that increased weekend staffing of the police department alone would likely cost the town about $15,000 in overtime costs. He noted the Winthrop Fire Department will have extra crews beginning Saturday night as well, to extinguish non-sanctioned bonfires along the beach or in residents’ backyards.
“We’ll have extra officers on duty from 4 p.m. to 4 a.m. beginning on July 3, and then again on July 4th,”said Delehanty. “Residents should know that in order to maintain a safe and enjoyable event for everyone, no bonfires or private fireworks displays will be tolerated, and all regular laws, including parking ordinances, will be enforced – including laws about the public consumption of alcohol.”
Delehanty added all of the town’s reserve police officers have been called in for duty on July 4th, as have the Winthrop Auxiliary Police.
“We’ve even asked Auxiliary Police Chief Robert Sanborn to request Auxiliary Police help from Somerville, to make sure that we have enough police on the streets to ensure public safety,” he said.
As for parking and traffic concerns on July 4th, Delehanty noted that all residents are being asked to make sure guests arrive at homes on Point Shirley well in advance of the actual fireworks display and that all vehicles are parked in legal parking spots. To ease traffic concerns on the Point following the fireworks display, the traffic pattern on Point Shirley has been established as a loop. Bayview and Grandview avenues will become a one-way loop leading from Bayview west to Grandview Avenue south, and all cars should be parked in a direction that will follow the loop. Questions about parking and traffic flow can be directed to the Winthrop Police.
“We will also begin closing Shirley Street to non-resident traffic from the corner of Washington Street out to the Point, sometime between 4 and 6 p.m., depending on public safety concerns,” said Delehanty. “We will keep the road open to residents as long as possible, but once too many people start walking in the street, we’ll have no choice but to close the road to all vehicles for public safety.”