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City pleased with Kappa Sigma concert as a 'singular event'

In an update to the Grand Forks City Council following a Friday concert at University Park, Police Chief Mark Nelson reported few offenses and no neighborhood complaints.

"I guess our best wishes came true," Nelson said.

Three weeks ago, the police chief asked council members to vote against the event, a show UND's Kappa Sigma fraternity organized for its Military Heroes campaign to help wounded veterans and their families.

Nelson had warned council members that the event was too reminiscent of Springfest, the last University Park concert where attendees had wristband access to alcohol.

City and university officials chose to end Springfest four years ago, following an incident where students wore racially offensive "Siouxper drunk" T-shirts to the event. Other pitfalls included binge drinking, underage consumption and loud neighborhood house parties.

In his most recent address to the council Monday night, Nelson reported only three citations at the Kappa Sigma event last week, all having to do with minor in consumption.

Event organizers weren't necessarily at fault for those, Nelson said, adding that some of his "best officers" still have a hard time with increasingly sophisticated fake IDs.

Despite the good report, Nelson warned the city against approving more University Park concerts too fast.

"It took me 14 years to quell the Springfest mess," Nelson said, "and I'm not in any hurry to open that door."

The Kappa Sigma benefit was successful as a "singular" event, he added, and the city should avoid approving any regular concerts in the near future.

Council member Katie Dachtler, whose ward consists of University Park and surrounding neighborhoods, said she looks forward to seeing more specific data from the event, including how much money Kappa Sigma raised for wounded veterans. Dachtler also said the council should look for ways it can seek and maintain relationships with UND organizations and students.

"I think it's important we consider ways to build that relationship," she said.

Emily Allen

Allen joined the Grand Forks Herald to cover local government and politics May 2018. Call her at 701-780-1102, email her at eallen@gfherald.com or follow her on Twitter, @Emily_theHerald.

(701) 780-1102
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