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No beads or candy at Plant City parades
A 9-year-old boy died falling from a float at the Christmas parade.
By JESSICA VANDER VELDE, Times Staff Writer
Published January 16, 2008
PLANT CITY - Plant City commissioners voted unanimously Monday to ban the throwing of beads and candy in the city's parades.
The commissioners' decision was the first change to the city's parade protocol in response to the Dec. 7 death of 9-year-old Jordan Hays, who was run over and killed by a Christmas parade float as he reached for more candy to throw to the crowd.
They also voted to delay a decision about buying barricades to keep paradegoers off the streets - a recommendation police Chief Bill McDaniel made in a report released Friday - because they would cost about $200,000. They'll decide this summer when they draw up the budget, City Manager David Sollenberger said.
"It's a big expense," he said.
Sollenberger also plans to ask McDaniel to form a task force to discuss recommendations in the report, which include developing and enforcing float safety standards, starting preparade safety inspections and briefings, capping the number of floats and reducing the length of the city's parades.
Sollenberger said those changes probably won't be in place for the March 3 Strawberry Festival parade. The goal is to have them ready for the Christmas parade in December, he said.
"Most of the floats are already done for the Strawberry Festival," Sollenberger said Tuesday. "It's difficult to modify things on such a short notice."
Relatives of Hayes, who lived in Inverness, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.