Pride Parade Organizers Change Start Time

The parade will start at noon next year

Chicago's gay pride parade will start later than planned after organizers made a deal with a local church.

Officials from Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church expressed concern about the new parade route blocking the main entrance since it's scheduled to go past it on West Belmont Avenue.

Parade organizers decided they will kick off the parade at noon to accommodate services at the church, at 708 W. Belmont Ave.

"We believe this is an agreeable compromise to help keep the parade safe and manageable while respecting the diversity of our neighborhood,” said a joint statement from 44th Ward Alderman Tom Tunney and Parade organizer Richard Pfeiffer.

Last year, approximately 800,000 people attended the parade which is held the last Sunday in June.

Organizers in early October announced a change to the route, start time and size of the parade -- Chicago's second-largest -- to combat longstanding concerns about crowds, drinking, traffic and public transportation access.

Rev. Thomas Srenn stressed that the content of the parade wasn't the issue.

"We live in a very diverse community. We pride ourselves so much on respecting and being sensitive to other peoples' beliefs and cultures and what's important to them," said Srenn. "We like diversity. It's not about the parade. It's about the timing of the parade."

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