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Pickerington festival organizers ask for venue change
Organizers of the annual Pickerington Jazz and Blues Ribfest have asked the city if they can move their event from Columbus Street to Victory Park and sell alcohol.
Pickerington law prohibits alcohol in the city parks, however council may grant a waiver, City Manager Tim Hansley said at the Oct. 6 council meeting.
The organizers plan to expand the festival into a two-day event on Aug. 6 and 7. It depends on beer sales to raise funds, Hansley said.
The Chamber of Commerce operates a beer tent in the city parking lot for the Violet Festival, but the Ribfest organizers said the lot was "too far removed for the size of their event," Hansley said.
The Safety Committee will discuss the issue at its Oct. 21 meeting, although Council Members Tricia Sanders and Brian Wisniewski both indicated they would vote against a waiver.
"I have a hard time with alcohol in the park," Sanders said. "And the fact that (this park) is adjacent to school facilities."
The Violet Festival will be held the weekend before the Ribfest in Victory Park.
"It does tax city staff" to have back-to-back events, Hansley said.
In addition, a recent survey indicated that Pickerington residents desired fewer and better events, Hansley said.
By shortening the width of the northbound lane of Center Street, city workers will create two southbound turn lanes where the road tees with Columbus Street, City Engineer Greg Bachman said.
In other news, city council passed an ordinance donating $3,500 to Pickerington Central Band to enable financially disadvantaged students to march with their classmates in the 2010 Tournament of Roses Parade.
Violet Township Trustees also donated $3,500, Mayor Mitch O'Brien said.
Although no residents spoke at the council meeting, Wisniewski and Councilwoman Cristie Hammond both said they received many phone calls regarding the donation.
"It has not gone without notice in the community on the negative side," Wisniewski said. "Residents think we should not be spending money on school activities."
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