City officials on Thursday canceled a Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade that was to have included Gov. Greg Abbott as the grand marshal.
City officials said the decision was made because parade organizers had not met their obligations.
The city issued a statement saying, in part: “After organizers for Monday’s planned Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. parade in the Entertainment District failed to meet event planning and security-related funding requirements, the City of Arlington has declined to issue a permit for the advertised event.
“A permit is required for parades on public streets, public parks or other outdoor spaces owned by the City. The organizers of Monday’s scheduled Toyota North Texas Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Parade have not provided the required payment to cover the City’s personnel and equipment costs for traffic management and event security, as required by the City’s Special Events Ordinance.”
City Manager Trey Yelverton said the city has “been accommodating and there was a final requests and that request was not fulfilled.”
“There is a significant burden and we have to be sure that burden is not borne by the taxpayers,” he said. “When we came down to four days before the event was supposed to take place and the costs burdens had not been met we had to cancel the event.”
Alisa Simmons, president of the National Association of Colored People Arlington branch, had opposed the selection of Abbott as the parade’s honorary grand marshal.
Just prior to the beginning of a press conference in Arlington scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Simmons announced the city shelved the parade.
“The city of Arlington hosts a lot of special events and they take a lot of preparation,” she said. “We need to know they are safe and have access to restrooms and things like that.
“We’ve been working and trying to work all the details. We just have not been able to get the organizers to meet all the requirements to host this special event.”
SOURCE: MITCH MITCHELL
The Fort Worth Star Telegram