Survey indicates community remains split on moving Chicago Pride Parade downtown

Thu. September 11, 2014 2:43 PM by News Staff

ald. tom tunney in 2014 chicago pride parade

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Tunney: Preliminary survey results 'split down the middle'

Chicago, IL - Lakeview Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) Thursday shared preliminary results of a recent community poll on whether to move the Chicago Pride Parade downtown. 

"On first blush, it's 50-50... split down the middle," Tunney told WBBM-AM

The survey, which consisted of 15 questions, including whether the person identifies as LGBT, actually lives in the 44th Ward, what the top concern is, and -- of course -- whether the route should be moved downtown, was available online from Aug. 20 through Sept. 5. According to Tunney's office, over 3,400 people responded. 

Conversations about moving the annual parade from the North Side to Grant Park began after more than 1 million lined the streets in June, causing some to question if the event has outgrown its home in Boystown. The parade route was changed in 2012 for the first time in 25 years due to the number of people, and now many say, once again, the event is a victim of its own success.

In an Aug. 21 interview with, Tunney said, "I want to hear from residents and business owners on what their biggest concerns are and how we can improve the experience for both spectators and neighbors."

Tunney added that he was "not ruling out any options" as he polled the community. 

"Moving the parade downtown has been discussed over the years as the parade continues to grow in popularity and size," he told "This decision would ultimately be made by city officials, but I want to take the pulse of the community on what they feel should be done."

Boystown business owners and community leaders have continued to argue the parade is vital to the neighborhood from a cultural and social perspective. 

"If we were to move the parade out of that community, we would lose a lot more than some beer that wouldn't be sold," Sidetrack owner and co-founder of Equality Illinois Art Johnston said on June 30

While it's still unclear whether city officials will approve of the change, or how much say parade organizers have in the upheaval, Tunney says the option is still up in the air.

"There are still issues that need to be addressed and I am not ruling out any option for next year," Tunney concluded.