TCSU relocates Spring Jam to subdue partying

Michael Krieger

As the University prepares to launch its annual Spring Jam block party this Saturday, memories of last year’s revelry still haunt Como resident Jessica Askew.

“I remember that day,” Askew said, an eight-year resident. “I participated in the cleanup.”

Askew recalls the Sunday following last year’s festivities when her neighborhood was littered with the previous night’s vestiges.

“When people were going to church, the roads were filled with glass and trash,” she said.

Although parties, litter and noise are habitual concerns for area residents, this weekend the University will try to give the neighborhood a reprieve.

The Twin Cities Student Unions will hold their Spring Jam block party on Church Street this year, breaking a two-year tradition of celebrating in Dinkytown streets.

“Last year, the Spring Jam block party landed on the first nice night of spring,” said Carol Bjorklund, TCSU program director. “Everybody was having parties throughout the neighborhood.”

Bjorklund said she hopes moving the event to the East Bank will subdue some of the rampant partying that flourished last year.

Music and entertainment is extended until midnight this year to keep people on campus and out of the University neighborhoods, Bjorklund said.

“I think it will contain the activity to the campus,” she said.

University police Capt. Steve Johnson said in addition to University police, the Minneapolis Police Department will have 25 to 30 additional squads patrolling neighborhoods.

“The goal is to have a safe, fun, alcohol-free environment for the students,” Johnson said.

But even if the students are contained within the East Bank until midnight, Askew said she doubted post-Spring Jam festivities could be curtailed.

“Having it on campus without having alcohol, I’m not sure it will solve the problem,” Askew said.

Since alcohol is prohibited, all drinking-related activities inevitably migrate off campus, she said.

“For them to have a zero-tolerance policy, it just moves the parties into the neighborhoods,” Askew said. “The ‘U’ takes a ridiculous position on that.”

Suzie Overlie, Southeast Como Improvement Association neighborhood coordinator, said her organization voiced objections to the City Council about the block party.

The neighborhood association members planned to ask the City Council to deny the University’s request for a block party permit in Dinkytown. However, the action was unnecessary because of the venue change.

“Once we found out in was on campus, we didn’t send the letter,” Overlie said.

Although the University did not request a permit from the City Council, council member Paul Zerby said he had reservations about another Dinkytown event because of reactions from neighborhood residents.

Business owners, however, said they were surprised and saddened to learn the block party was not going to be held in Dinkytown this year.

“We were very disappointed that it happened,” said George Medich, general manager at The Library Bar and Grill. “I never had any problem with it at all.”

Frank Vescio, president of Vescio’s restaurant, said the block party was a welcome event in Dinkytown.

“We always like to have it because it’s good for the area,” he said.

Michael Krieger covers University neighborhoods and welcomes comments at [email protected]