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Fun, safety top priorities for Grand Rapids New Year's celebration

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - If your plans bring you to Grand Rapids on New Year's Eve, you might notice a change in the ball drop downtown.

There are some changes this year, as the ball is now stationed on Louis Street to give revelers more space to spread out.

Organizers also set up warming tents on Monroe, and a charging station for cellphones, both likely to come in very handy this year.

While all this is happening, though, police and security teams will have their eye on safety.

The stage is set, and the party is ready to begin.

"I hope the snow stops, but its gonna be cold and people need to be aware of that--dress warm, dress in layers and come prepared that it is gonna be chilly," said Marcus Bradman, the Director of Marketing for Cumulus Broadcasting.

But aside from the cold, the other major concern--with 40,000 people expected in downtown-- is safety.

"We want people to be able to come down, enjoy the event and make sure they get home safely," Bradman said.

Grand Rapids police will have extra officers on hand to deal with the crowds, and on top of that, organizers have hired their own security team.

"Its huge; it just takes one little thing to screw it up--I mean a couple years ago they had that 4th of July shooting and that deterred people," Bradman said. "When people think 'Hey, I wanna go to New Year's Eve,' I don't want them to think 'Well, there was that accident that happened.'"

Bradman says aside from any criminal activity, they'll also be looking for people who may have had too much of the cold--or too much to drink.

"Because its New Year's, we do look for people who maybe had a little too many beverages--we don't want to make a big scene--we try to eliminate that," he said.

But overall, Bradman says they've never had any major issues with the New Year's Eve party--but they are being vigilant.

"It's horrible, cause we live in a society that we do have to be concerned with that so we try to take every precaution--I mean, I can't control the people, but we're putting every precaution in place to make sure the people who do come are safe," he said.

So as crews finish the final touches, the ball waits over Rosa Parks Circle, ready to drop into 2014.

Organizers say there is something for the entire family, and if you want to come out, there is still plenty of time to get out and enjoy the party.