GREENFIELD – With some business owners and nearby residents objecting to closing down Layton Avenue for eight days for the 115th Harley-Davidson anniversary celebration, the common council on a split vote decided the good outweighs the inconvenience.
So, Layton Avenue will be closed in both directions between 60th and 64th streets starting Aug. 27, which is the Monday before Labor Day, remaining closed all that week and reopening Tuesday, Sept. 4, the day after Labor Day.
The celebration itself will not be all eight days. Time is needed for setup and tearing down.
Once again, the House of Harley-Davidson, 6221 W. Layton Ave., plans to put on an anniversary party with music, food, rides and events, all to celebrate Harley-Davidson.
Mayor Michael Neitzke acknowledged there is inconvenience, but that having visitors from all over the country coming to Greenfield is beneficial.
Residents worried about the hubbub and with only one street open into the neighborhood north of the celebration, wondered whether ambulances and fire engines could get to emergencies.
However, Fire Chief Jon Cohn said his department is able to deal adequately with that. Police Chief Bradley Wentlandt also expressed confidence the situation will be safe and workable.
The city has closed Layton Avenue every five years for the anniversary celebrations the House of Harley holds since Harley-Davidson’s 100th anniversary.
The street is closed in both directions due to safety considerations. Those going to and from the celebration would likely end up crossing busy Layton Avenue, and having traffic so close to the many celebrating people expected for the 115th anniversary poses a risk, safety officials said. They have not been happy with previous two-lane closures of Layton Avenue for past events, they said.
Alderman Bruce Bailey who represents the area voted against the closing, along with Alderwoman Pam Akers.
8 days ‘excessive’
Residents are inconvenienced and businesses lose money when Layton is closed, he said.
“Layton Avenue is a major thoroughfare and to close it for eight days seems excessive,” Bailey said after the Feb. 6 common council meeting.
Harley representatives said they need time to set up and tear down. A ride on the Wednesday in the middle of the week also was a factor, they said.