Safety concerns come as videos surfaced of groups of youths getting into fights Saturday at the River Days festival downtown, which ended Sunday. (Steve Perez / The Detroit News)
Detroit— Police officials say they are prepared to handle the unexpected at the 56th annual Ford Fireworks on the river Monday but will be enforcing curfew to keep troubled youths off the streets.
Renee Hall, the deputy chief for the Detroit Police Department, said most problems come from those 17 or younger, but police in conjunction with local, state, county and federal officials will be keeping a tight lid on them and other issues so the fireworks experience is enjoyable.
Teens 18 or younger are under a 6 p.m. Monday to 6 a.m. Tuesday curfew, unless accompanied by a parent or guardian.
The concerns come as videos surfaced of groups of youths getting into fights Saturday at the River Days festival downtown, which ended Sunday. Some juveniles were arrested on felony charges, but no further details were available, according to Detroit Police Sgt. Eren L. Stephens on Sunday.
Nearly 1 million viewers are expected to be downtown Monday for the fireworks show along the Detroit River.
Hall said the curfew across the city for teens is necessary because “historically we have had issues where the youth come down and they are very unruly. They are throwing firecrackers, trying to make people believe there are shots being fired, they are assaulting one another, and rival gangs have come down.
“We know that this is not all young people, but unfortunately the numbers of juveniles that caused a problem have made it very bad for those individuals who are not coming down to cause havoc.”
Hall also said she doesn’t expect any issues with crowds who won’t be able to watch the fireworks on Belle Isle now that it’s a state park and policed by Michigan State Police, which have instituted new rules.
“When we were in control of the island, it was the same concept,” Hall said.
“The island has a capacity. Once the island got to roughly 90 percent capacity, we would also shut the island down.
“This is nothing new to the residents of the city of Detroit. They do know that in order to ensure a spot on the island they do need to get there as early as possible.”
City officials last week outlined new guidelines for watching the fireworks on the 982-acre island park. The island will open at 5 a.m. for pedestrian and bicycle traffic; cars will not be allowed until 2 p.m.
Other Belle Isle restrictions during the fireworks:
■No viewing from the MacArthur Bridge
■A recreation passport will be required to enter; passport fee is $11. No cars will be admitted after the island is at capacity, officials said.
■No personal fireworks or alcohol use are allowed without a permit, which can be obtained from the park supervisor with a shelter or event rental.
■Tents and canopies should be 9 feet by 9 feet or smaller with no more than two per group.
If coming downtown, motorists are urged to observe parking laws; violators will be ticketed and possibly towed for a $215 fee. Cars towed downtown will be held on the lot at West Fort near Rosa Parks, while those on Belle Isle will remain there. The tow lots close at 1 a.m.
City-owned lots such as Joe Louis, Millennium, Premier and Ford Underground will be open. The lots charge a maximum of $15. The Millennium garage is open all night, but others close at 1 a.m.
The People Mover will operate from 6 a.m. to midnight for a 75 cent fee. City buses will have additional service, and the Rosa Parks Transit Center will stay open until 1 a.m.
The Ford Motor Co. is the main sponsor of the show, and the fireworks will prominently feature the blue and white colors of the automaker’s logo. About 8,000 pounds of fireworks will be featured in The Parade Company-produced event,
The Ford Fireworks will be broadcast live in WDIV-TV (Channel 4) beginning at 8 p.m. Tune into WJR-AM (760) for a radio simulcast and traffic and weather updates.
Detroit News Staff Writers Darren A. Nichols and Lauren Abdel-Razzaq contributed.