ALBEMARLE — With Halloween coming to the streets of downtown this week, the City of Albemarle is doing everything it can to make sure those celebrating have a safe, fun holiday.
Trick-or-treating is a central activity on Halloween, and during the most recent city council meeting, council members decided to take action to protect those participating in this tradition in the five points area of downtown by closing down Pee Dee Avenue from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
“It’s really a safety issue,” said Kevin Robinson, Albemarle’s director of planning and development. “I spoke with Chief (David) Dulin about it as well. Especially the eastern side of Pee Dee, over there where the sidewalks run out. You get kids wandering around the street and everything and people driving through.”
According to the city’s website, “Cross traffic will be allowed on Miller, Sixth, Seventh, Ninth/Cotton and Ridge streets, but will not be allowed down Pee Dee Ave. Please find a different route around during these hours.”
They plan to set up cones at both entrances to the street. People who need to access their homes can move the cones and then put them back in place to block traffic.
“Safety has always been a concern, especially with all the foot traffic we have during Halloween,” Dulin said at the council meeting.
Dulin says extra officers will be on duty for Halloween night, and they can be “in the neighborhood” to make sure the cones stay in place and trick-or-treaters remain safe.
The council said that this would be the first time they closed the street, but it had raised concerns from the year before with cars quickly turning onto a dark street with no sidewalks and many children present. Robinson said they hope to “keep it as minimally-invasive as possible.”
For those a little too old to knock on doors and ask for candy, downtown Albemarle has multiple Halloween events going on from Thursday into the weekend. The three–day “extravaganza” begins with a 5 p.m. costume parade on Thursday starting at Second Street Sundries.
Mayor Pro Tem Martha Sue Hall devoted much of her closing comments to promoting the events to “everybody on council, and everybody watching, and everybody reading the paper and listening to the radio.” Hall is also on the Special Events Committee for the city. She said they “put in a heck of a lot of work” into making the weekend a success.
Hall said after Thursday’s events, there will be a run and a scary movie downtown Friday night and then events all day Saturday, from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. She described the half-hour-long ghost walk at the history museum as a “phenomenal history lesson on downtown Albemarle.”
For those more interested in nightlife, on Halloween night, Five Points Public House is holding a “Spooky Tap Takeover” event in partnership with Sycamore Brewing of Charlotte. A couple blocks west on Main Street, Tiffany’s at the Boardroom is also hosting a Halloween-themed party. From 8 p.m. to 10 p.m., the venue will have music, drinks and even a costume contest.