With a home-opening crowd gearing up for Saturday's Central Michigan-Kentucky football game at Commonwealth Stadium, the university and the city will work together to address safety issues, trash and illegally parked cars at the stadium and in nearby neighborhoods.
"It's great to bring 70,000 of your closest friends in for a day and everybody gets to fellowship. It's a great front porch for the university, and we want to make it a great front porch," said UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart.
"But that being said, we're neighbors to the community. After some victories, we get a little exuberant and we're not quite so cognizant of our friends. As we go through this season, we want to be good neighbors," Barnhart said.
The goal of the Game Day Task Force is not to arrest people, said Lexington police Sgt. Chris Young. "We prefer not to write tickets. We try to prevent illegal behavior before it happens."
The university and city police will team up to patrol the stadium and neighborhoods near campus to make sure any behavior that puts people or property in danger will be dealt with quickly.
More than 200 public safety officers will be on duty Saturday in various capacities.
Parking violations on residential streets will be strictly enforced. It is illegal to park in the front yard of a house.
Starting at 10 a.m. Saturday, teams of city code enforcement officers, accompanied by a Lexington police officer, will patrol neighborhoods, issuing tickets for cars parked in yards. "Mainly, we'll be in the Elizabeth Street area and the Aylesford Place-Transylvania Park neighborhood," said David Jarvis, director of code enforcement.
These teams will also issue tickets for litter and debris, household furniture on front porches, plus trash cans and furniture on the curb. "We'll have it removed," Jarvis said.
Lexington police Lt. Melissa Sedlaczek said 14 police on bicycles will ride through neighborhoods near UK plus through the stadium parking lots. This will be in addition to a large contingent of police on traffic detail, she said.
On Aug. 22, a contingent of code enforcement officers, police and student volunteers placed hang tags on 1,000 door knobs around UK with information on how to recycle furniture and how to properly set out trash on the curb. The police included information on alcohol, noise and parking violations.
"We have seen a significant improvement in neighborhoods before and after games with trash. Mostly we see isolated incidents now," Jarvis said. "At one point, things had really gotten out of hand. Game Day has really reined it in."
Diane Lawless, third district representative on the Urban County Council, said that on Sunday, student groups will go out and clean up after-game litter.
She also urged fans as they walked to their cars after the game, "If you see trash, it doesn't take a second to pick it up."
On game day, if fans want to report concerns regarding behavior or have questions about something they see, they can text CATS with their message and seat number to 78247. This new fan service will enable one-to-one text messaging between the fan and stadium operations personnel.
Also, a new fan guide for Commonwealth Stadium is available online at UKathletics.com/fbgameday and will be distributed to season ticketholders with a map of the stadium and a summary of game day do's and don'ts.