Widespread relief

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 4, 2003

Pelham Mayor Bobby Hayes may have prevented widespread problems when he persuaded Oak Mountain Amphitheater representatives to find a new venue for the groove band Widespread Panic.

The band made a three-concert stop at the Oak Mountain Amphitheater in Pelham during a tour last April, bringing with it some 35,000 fans.

But dedicated fans weren’t the only thing that followed the band into town.

Materilalizing in a matter of days was a drug scene unlike law enforcement officials had ever seen in Pelham.

Two deaths, several injuries and more than 200 arrests put an undue strain on law enforcement officials who worked hundreds of hours and even coordinated a sting operation.

While the band may have brought in a large source of revenue for the city, the costs greatly outweighed the benefits.

We commend the actions of Hayes and other city officials who put the safety of Pelham’s citizens and its protectors ahead of economic gain.

For now, at least, Pelham won’t panic