Mecimore said more police officers will be on duty as a precautionary measure — the standard procedure for the rivalry matchup each year. In the event of a UNC win, police will do their best to keep people from impeding traffic but are prepared to close Franklin Street to incoming cars if they are not able to keep people out of the streets.
Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt said he prepares an emergency proclamation before big games like this to make sure the celebration is safe.
The proclamation allows town officials to do things they normally wouldn’t have the power to do, like confiscate blue paint or pointy objects that could be used as weapons.
Traditionally, fans start bonfires, which are illegal in Chapel Hill, on Franklin Street to celebrate a UNC win over Duke.
“It’s usually more dangerous to try to get in there and put a stop to the fires, so we are more concerned with making sure everyone is safe and no one gets burned,” Kleinschmidt said.
Businesses on Franklin Street are also gearing up for the game. Katie Hampton, a floor manager at Top of the Hill, said the restaurant will clear the dining room at 8:15 p.m. to accommodate the maximum number of people.
People wishing to watch the game at Top of the Hill will have to get tickets, which will be distributed beginning at 5 p.m. at the restaurant. Tickets are free but are used to guarantee seats to view the game, Hampton said.
“If UNC wins, we have to push all the furniture against the wall so people can come up and view Franklin Street, which is a great joy,” she said.
Drew Hansel, general manager at Spanky’s Restaurant and Bar, said the restaurant will operate as it does on any other night — but he is expecting to see three times the usual number of customers.
To accommodate the increased traffic, Hansel said he is rescheduling deliveries to the restaurant to ensure they have enough product to last the duration of the night. He will also have a doorman, which he does not usually need.
“We’ll play it by ear, but everyone’s just going to work a lot harder that night than we typically do and that’s what we’re here to do,” he said.
But as much extra work as the game creates, town officials and business owners alike are rooting for a cause for celebration in town tonight and later in the NCAA Tournament.
“We’ll just have to see if (March Madness) is an issue this year,” Mecimore said.
“As a Carolina fan, I’d like us to go far, but that’s not the police department’s view on it, just mine.”