An ad hoc advisory committee of city and Ohio University officials made a recommendation this week for an alternate Homecoming parade route for 2012.
The new route would avoid the majority of Court Street, but has not been made official and could still see some changes.
Concerns over overcrowding in certain areas, spectator and participant safety, and some crowd rowdiness led to a charge for the committee to look into possible changes of the route. The issue was raised at a City Council meeting in early April.
Becky Watts, chief of staff for OU President Roderick McDavis, sat on the committee and confirmed the recommendations on Monday.
"In short, the recommendation is to begin on West Union, proceed to Court, turn south on Court, turn east on Park Place, turn south on University Terrace," she said, with the parade ending near the Ping Recreation Center. "Dr. McDavis anticipates making a decision on the recommendation in the next couple weeks."
Watts lauded the input of city officials sitting on the ad hoc committee.
"Their expertise and participation in the committee's deliberations were critical to the development of a well-researched recommendation," she said.
The committee included representatives from both the university and city Police Departments, the city administration, the homecoming steering committee, the university's Parking Services, the OU office of Facilities Management, a past parade coordinator, a member of Student Senate and a student at large, a safety officer and Watts. They looked at up to five different recommendations for a change of route.
In previous years, the parade began at the East State and traveled the length of Court Street all the way to the OU campus.
The impetus for the recommendation, Watts has said, was safety concerns.
"There were some minor injuries, and there were issues related to how parade participants are treated by folks along the parade route," she said. "Sometimes the environment can create a certain tenor or mood for an event."
She said McDavis' goal was to have the committee look at the best ways to maximize the benefits of the event and have the least amount of risk.
A problem, she said, is that some areas of the current route leave a lack of sidewalk room for spectators, who end up spilling into the way of the parade participants.
"What happens is, when sidewalks are not very deep in some of those spots, people end up spilling into the street; and now you have an issue of you've got participants trying to walk in the same place you have viewers," she said.
McDavis discussed the issue with City Council members during a lunch in March.
Third Ward member Michele Papai was vocal in her criticisms of the atmosphere during the parade route that was used in 2011.
"It was a pretty significant Homecoming in terms of some of the events that happened, and there could've been some serious accidents, and it apparently was due to crowd-control issues," she said, telling of her experience walking the event.
While part of the newly recommended parade route runs along about a block of Court Street, it's the section that runs through a mainly campus area, with wider sidewalks. There are no bars along the route, and that's been one of the issues in the past, with early "kegs and eggs" bar patrons out on the sidewalks.
Homecoming weekend 2012 is scheduled for Oct. 12-14.