The massive state budget cuts that have forced the Metropolitan District Commission (MDC) to close zoos and skating rinks throughout the Boston area have left Cambridge officals concerned about the organization's ability to run the Head of the Charles Regatta this weekend.
Mayor Alice K. Wolf said this week she is concerned that because of the $16 million cut in the MDC's budget, the organization's police force may not be able to handle the large crowd expected for the regatta on Sunday.
The Head of the Charles, a perennially popular event with college students throughout the Northeast, has in the past drawn large and unruly crowds to the city, forcing the MDC to tighten security and enforce alcohol laws strictly.
Wolf said that the event has been better-controlled in the past three years, but said that a scaled-back police force could easily reverse the trend.
"In the past we've had problems with public drinking, people parking in front of residents driveways, traffic jams and crowd control," Wolf said.
At Wolf's request, the City Council yesterday called on City Manager Robert W. Healy to investigate whether there will be enough police and maintenance personel to keep the regatta under control. The order urges Healy to force regatta organizers to hire more people if the MDC forces prove insufficient.
'All the Supports'
An MDC spokesperson said yesterday, however, that the city's fears were unfounded. MDC officials have previously announced that they are offsetting the budget cuts by soliciting funds from corporate sponsors.
"On the river itself we have the same coverage as last year with all the supports," said MDC spokesperson Peter G. LaPorte. "We'll have sobriety check points, police on horses, helicopters, and all the usual personnel."