In honor of St. Patrick’s Day weekend, Buffalo City Hall will be green.
Not all of it, but the tip of the 398-foot-high central dome. This weekend marks the first time in recent memory that a second iconic downtown Buffalo building will join the Electric Tower in illuminating the city skyline with special building-top colors that can change in honor of special occasions, from St. Patrick’s Day to Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
“It wasn’t possible until recently,” Mayor Byron W. Brown said.
Much of City Hall has undergone lighting improvements in recent weeks, but the ability to light the dome in customized colors is by far the most impressive exterior upgrade.
Sporting a light green tie in front of the Buffalo Irish Center on Abbott Road in South Buffalo, Brown pulled out his mobile phone and proudly scrolled through the images of the green-domed City Hall on his phone. The dome will be lit bright green at night through Sunday evening.
“We’ve been looking at doing this for a couple of years,” Brown said, “and recently, we worked out the resources and the technology to do it.”
Brown wasn’t just talking with the media about the newly colorized City Hall dome on Friday. He also brought his deputy police commissioner with him to inform the public that police would be out in greater numbers this year to patrol both the Old Neighborhood Parade that runs through the Old First Ward on Saturday and the St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Delaware Avenue on Sunday.
Interest in parade security is heightened this year as Delaware Avenue businesses like Tim Horton’s have announced they would be shutting their doors during parade hours because of the headaches caused by inconsiderate and drunken revelers.
“We will have more police at both events,” Brown said. “We will have patrols at both events. We will also have signage. We will have officers watching for underage drinking. We will be enforcing laws against public intoxication.”
Deputy Commissioner Kim Beaty said that the public can expect tougher enforcement of the laws and a more conspicuous and visible police presence. The police will also station a manned, elevated camera at the Delaware Avenue parade to keep track of crowd activity. She discouraged parade-goers from bringing alcohol with them when they line the parade routes.
“We will be enforcing some laws, and we don’t want to have to take a whole bunch of people to jail,” she said, “but sometimes that happens.”
Brown spent little time at the brief news conference addressing the increasing unwillingness of some businesses to stay open during the Delaware Avenue parade, except to say the city would be working to address business concerns.
“We want people to come down,” he said. “We want people to have a great time.”