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Parks, venues reviewing security measures

New Hampshire Union Leader

April 21. 2013 1:01AM
Like other sports venues, the security measures at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough Mass., are likely to be reviewed. (FILE)

MANCHESTER - Christine Burns headed toward the ticket takers at Delta Dental Stadium on Thursday night, sons Jack and Colin in tow, ready to take in some minor- league baseball. Eager to see the Fisher Cats in action, the mother of two from Hudson said she wasn't going to let any concerns about terrorism get in the way of a night out with her boys.

"They have been looking forward to it for weeks," said Burns. "Of course you think about what happened in Boston, but you have to live, not hide at home. Honestly, I never gave skipping the game a second thought."

In the wake of Monday's terror attacks near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, officials at many venues across the state have taken a second look at security policies. Managers at these facilities said they hope Burns' attitude is shared by others and they continue to attend public events in the weeks and months ahead.

A Delta Dental Stadium spokesman said managers consulted with state and local police last week regarding security procedures at the ballpark. He said fans can expect to experience heightened security procedures, such as bag and backpack searches, as well as other measures he would not divulge.

Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester puts a great deal of emphasis on security, too. "As a matter of practice, we always stay current with our security procedures," said Jason Perry, director of sales and marketing. "With the employees and public being our utmost priority, we cannot divulge any security policies, trainings or preparedness we take."

Chris Nicoli, director of marketing at Canobie Lake Park in Salem, said managers at the park are reviewing security procedures. Park security personnel have the right to search bags and backpacks and to conduct patdowns of anyone visiting the park.

"We open next (Friday), so this is something we would be reviewing now anyway, but we're looking at the details in a new light after the events at the marathon," said Nicoli. "We don't anticipate any drop in attendance because of what happened, but we're looking at the possibility."

Organizers of the Manchester Marathon, scheduled to take place Nov. 3 in the Queen City, are looking at how security is handled in Boston and are reviewing their own procedures.

"The Manchester Marathon Association sends its deepest sympathies to all the victims of Monday's tragic events and to all the athletes whose accomplishments were overshadowed by those events," Jennifer Rood, association treasurer, said in an email. "In light of the horrific bombings at the 2013 Boston Marathon, the Manchester Marathon Association will be reviewing its security procedures over the next several months to determine whether additional security procedures and/or a heightened law-enforcement presence is appropriate for future events. We do not anticipate a drop in runner participation or spectator interest as a result of recent events. If anything, the local running community is likely to pull together and make an extra effort to support running and related events."

Security teams at the Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom already search bags and pat down patrons before concerts. They also wave electronic wands over fans to detect metal objects prior to allowing them to enter the concert hall. Andrew Herrick, director of marketing for the venue, said tickets sales are going well this year, and he doesn't think the attacks in Boston will keep people away from attending shows.

"I would hope the tragedy in Boston wouldn't affect people's desire to congregate in large groups anywhere to enjoy freedom," said Herrick. "That would mean the people who perpetrate acts of terror are succeeding. Seems to me there has never been a better time to get together anywhere, not just here, as Americans and celebrate our freedom."

Spokesmen for Meadowbrook Pavilion, Storyland and Santa's Village could not be reached for comment.

Around New England

Several venues in Massachusetts that host sporting events or concerts attended by Granite State residents are also reviewing their security procedures in light of the Boston bombings.

Gillette Stadium, home of The New England Patriots and New England Revolution soccer team, stepped up security procedures following the Sept. 11 attacks. Stadium officials issued a statement regarding security last week.

"We are always in communication with local, state and federal public safety agencies. Prior to every stadium event, we create a joint security plan that is specific to the event and takes all current factors into consideration. For NFL games, we also coordinate with league security. We do not, however, share details regarding specific security plans or procedures" the statement read.

The stadium also hosts concerts featuring top touring acts and other events that attract tens of thousands of people.

The Comcast Center, a 19,000-seat outdoor amphitheater in Mansfield, Mass., also hosts large crowds during its concert season, scheduled to get underway May 17 with a concert by country star Brad Paisley.

Jacqueline Peterson, senior vice president for concert promoter Live Nation, which handles the concerts at the Comcast Center, said in a statement that security remains a top concern.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Boston during this tragedy, and we want to assure our fans, artists and employees that their safety remains a top priority for us," the statement read. "In this regard, we will continue to work diligently with local law enforcement and to have our teams maintain rigorous security procedures that begin well before a show begins and is upheld at entry points, around venue perimeters and throughout the show."

The Boston Red Sox, currently in the middle of a 10-game homestand, also issued a statement last week regarding security procedures at Fenway Park.

"We all personally feel the grief of the horrifying tragedy that struck our community on Patriots Day," Red Sox President and CEO Larry Lucchino said in the statement. "Our hearts are with our fellow Bostonians and visitors from around the world who were here for one of Boston's most spectacular and time-honored events.

"Fan safety has been and will continue to be of paramount importance. The club's security personnel will continue to work vigorously with Major League Baseball security and federal, state and local law enforcement authorities to maintain and reinforce the high level of security already in place at Fenway Park."

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