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Minneapolis scales back limits on activites around All-Star game


Minneapolis has revised its restrictions on public gatherings and activities in the days and areas surrounding baseball's All-Star game.

MinnPost reports the city changed an ordinance governing what are sometimes called "clean zones" – areas where festivals or other gatherings will not be permitted so that Major League Baseball's event keeps center stage.

The original plan put the restrictions in place from 10 days before the July 15 game until five days after it. The American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota filed a lawsuit Thursday on behalf of a group planning a downtown street festival on July 19.

The ACLU argued that Minneapolis had unconstitutionally given Major League Baseball the ability to deny permits for activities including food and beverage stands or musical performances.

MinnPost explains that the new version of the ordinance says the city keeps control of those decisions but will consult with baseball.

City officials tell the Star Tribune they anticipate that permits for the One Day in July Street Festival on July 19 will be granted routine approval.

But it's not clear yet if the city's changes will affect the lawsuit.

MPR News says the ACLU had no immediate comment on the revisions to the ordinance.

A city official noted after the lawsuit was filed that establishing clean zones is typical in cities that are hosting major sports events. This is also not the first time the ACLU has challenged them.

A lawsuit the group filed in advance of the 2013 Super Bowl in New Orleans led a judge to issue a restraining order scaling back the size of a clean zone. In that case New Orleans reached a settlement agreement with critics of the zone, which also limited the display of signs and banners not approved by the NFL.

In advance of the 2012 Super Bowl in Indianapolis, a sports law professor writing for Sports Illustrated outlined the arguments for and against clean zones at sports events.

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