A sports-themed sports event in Everett that marked the 40th anniversary of opening the Olympic Park will be open to spectators only for a week, or less, under a new rule adopted by the City Council this week.
“The purpose of the ‘Rule of Six’ is to protect all members of the community from unreasonable pain, discomfort, or discomfort resulting from the event,” according to the new rule, made for the Thunderfest celebration that will not be celebrated at the park, which is scheduled to host the NHL draft on May 22. The council voted 3-2 in support of the rule.
The move comes as a sports event passed through the rules that are expected to keep citizens and professional teams from celebrating Everett’s new Olympic Park just in case it is open to the public. The “Rule of Six” in Everett is now applicable only for NHL hockey and concerts at the NHL Round-Up, a facility for concerts at the waterfront between July 10 and 14.
Councilman Andy Andy Doig, who voted against the rule, cited concerns that it was subjective and did not comply with the assumption that people who were to participate in the events did not want their faces visible to the public. The District No. 2 councilman said there was a “compounding risk” of people who looked at the city’s rule and decided they wanted to be the the first to touch it.
Andrew Lardy, the city’s chief information officer, said the rule was designed to save the city money during the no-ticket period. The opening day of the championship events at the Round-Up will not be open to the public, except for security and police present, but private sports events will be allowed to keep their tickets until July 4 and will be issued those tickets that get out that day.
“We want people to enjoy the park for its premier performance event as well as the overall Olympic theme and tourist experience, but we also want to take the time to ensure we’re making all of the plans in the best interest of all to the best of our residents,” Lardy said.
The rules used to cover sporting events have not really applied to other sports events, but Lardy said it was not a new rule, although that portion of the rule was only adopted in 2016 and 2018 to address factors such as NFL, NCAA and professional soccer events.
The changes to the rule came after a lengthy public hearing that was open to the public, with some arguing that the changes “violate constitutional free speech protections.”
Dave Olson, a New Year’s Eve celebration organizer, said he was pleased with the change.
“When you look at the old rules and talk about creating a monopoly or a monopoly in sports, this change really opens up the market and all eyes are on the consumer,” Olson said.
Dick Leim, the first superintendent of the city’s parks and recreation department and a resident at the park, said the changes were not just to protect the sport events at the park, but to keep Everett residents happy at events celebrating the new park.
“The fireworks, the rock dance, the water shows, all those things need to be incorporated into the family happy atmosphere at the park,” Leim said.