Council discusses Spring Splash

City focused on post-event efforts

Nicole Aimone, News Editor

The city will also be sending out a letter to all rental property owner, which serves to not only make the landlords aware of the events of Spring Splash, but also ensure that property owners are communicating with their tenants about acceptable behavior on the property, and specific rules regarding parties within their lease agreements, according to City Manager Cameron Clapper, who shared updates with the council about the city’s plan at the April 5 council meeting.

Clapper and other members also mentioned their partnership with the University, where Jan Bilgen with Career Leadership and Development (CLD) will be running a clean up initiative during the event, as well as the next day, which helps to clean up the city after parties are held.

The Royal Purple contacted Bilgen seeking comment about the upcoming clean-up efforts, but she was not immediately available to respond to the request at press time.

Ald. Jim Allen (At-large) stressed how helpful CLD’s clean up has been in past years, but also the importance of Landlord’s ensuring their tenants are responsible for any clean up required following the events.

“Jan Bilgen’s crew does a fantastic job, at 6 a.m. the next day, trying to clean up all these residences,” Allen said. “But it needs to be told to the landlords, that it is still their responsibility or their tenants responsibility, that the yards need to be cleaned up.”

Chief Otterbacher expressed that clean up is also part of the city’s plan, where officers will be addressing clean up on Sunday morning.

After being surrounded by much controversy throughout the city and campus last spring, Spring Splash has made its way back onto Common Council’s agenda.

The annual event, scheduled for April 21, where University of Wisconsin-Whitewater students celebrate the start of spring, caused some negative effects and discussion within the city council in 2017, when residents, following the 2016 event, raised concerns about vandalism, trespassing and littering. There were also safety concerns, such as balconies exceeding weight limits, according to a February Royal Purple article.

The event became an item of concern when Wisconsin Red, a Midwestern-centered apparel and lifestyle brand, withdrew their sponsorship of the event in 2017, expressing that they did not want to be apart of an event that caused such damages. Wisconsin Red had sponsored the event for the previous three years.

While some council members believed that the event caused negative effects for the city, others believed that the idea of canceling Spring Splash supported anti-student rhetoric, and would not stop students from throwing parties on the scheduled day of the event.

Ald. Stephanie Goettl (Dist. 5) was quoted in a Royal Purple article published on Feb. 15, 2017 saying “If people think Spring Splash is canceled, that is arguably the funniest thing I have ever heard.”

This year, the council is focused less on preventing the event, but instead encouraging safety and awareness of the event, stressing that there is no official sponsor for the event this year.  

The city is expected to have a safety plan in place for the day of the event, that was organized with City of Whitewater Police Chief Lisa Otterbacher, where the city plans to work in partnership with other public safety organizations, including the university.

As part of the plan, officers will be working 12-16 hour shifts on April 21.

The Whitewater Fire Department will also be involved, by providing first aid in the public safety portion of the municipal building, where emergency medical technicians (EMT) and firefighters will be present to provide care.