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No Arrests at Wheeler Street Block Party


One year ago, an estimated 3,000 partiers gathered on a two block stretch of Wheeler Street in Macomb to celebrate the approaching end of the WIU school year.

Broken glass littered the street, numerous arrests were made, and a crowd control team was needed to break up the gathering.

The scene was much different this past weekend. Police were there to keep an eye on things but there was not much to see. Several smaller parties were held, no arrests were made, and no citations were issued.

“We had numerous meetings with the students on Wheeler Street and I think it paid off,” said Police Chief Curt Barker. “A lot of them acted socially responsible.”

The city council in March approved four new ordinances designed to control large outdoor gatherings. Barker believes those ordinances helped set a standard everyone could follow.

He said the emergency order issued by the mayor's office on April 26 also helped.  The 48 hour order prevented stores from selling alcohol in bottles of 16 ounces or less. The decision to issue the order was made after city leaders saw video of a large party that took place at Kent State University the previous weekend.

“You can sit there and watch that video and you just hear the glass breaking,” Barker said.

Barker said the city took the precaution because it did not know late last week whether Wheeler Street might develop into a larger party again this year.

This is the emergency order issued by Mayor Mike Inman on April 26:


 I, Michael J.  Inman,  in my capacity as the Liquor Commissioner for the City of Macomb,  Illinois, and pursuant to authority granted me in Section 4-16(a)  of the Macomb Municipal Code, entitled "Emergency Powers," do hereby  find that there may be a threat to the public health,  safety and welfare from activities by members of the public within  the geographic area of the corporate limits of the City of Macomb  in response to the promotion of an event that has become known  locally as ''Wheeler Street Block Party." I base this finding on  the following facts:

 1. In past years, this event has  been promoted, scheduled and conducted over a specific 24 to 48  hour period of time by members of the public located in the geographic  area described as a residential neighborhood area bounded by Adams,  Pierce, Charles and Johnson Streets, for at least the last three  years, on dates within the weekend prior to final exams at Western  Illinois University.

2. Again this year, the event is  being promoted informally among Western  Illinois University students  and on other college campuses, with anticipated attendance.

 3. On the day or days during which the event has occurred,  there has generally been a significant increase in the number of  arrests within the City of intoxicated persons on public property  for committing offenses resulting in personal injuries and damage  to property, such as disorderly conduct, battery and criminal damage  to property, and a significant increase of these offenses involving  the use or presence of glass containers.

 4. On the day  or days during which the event has occurred, there has been a significant  increase in the sale of alcoholic beverages from Class P licensees.

 5. On, the day or days during which the event has occurred,  there has generally been a significant amount of broken glass among  the debris and refuse littering the public streets in the residential  area described above, causing an immediate threat to the public’s  health safety and welfare.

 I have a reasonable belief as  based on past events that this year, ''Wheeler Street Block Party" will  be conducted within the City limits on Saturday, April  28, 2012, and  into the early morning hours of
 Sunday, April 29, 2012. Based  upon said findings, I hereby enter the following emergency

 All businesses currently holding a Class P package liquor  license allowing for the sale of package liquor for consumption  off the premises  within the geographic area of the corporate limits  of the City of Macomb shall be restricted in their package liquor  sales in the following manner:

 They shall be prohibited  from selling alcoholic beverages in glass containers being of the  size of 16 ounces or less, for a duration of 48 hours, commencing  at 7:00 p.m. April  26, 2012, expiring at 7:00 p.m., April  28, 2012, if not ordered rescinded sooner.


Rich is TSPR's News Director.