Beer tent gets okay

Despite the personal feelings of a few members of the Canal Winchester Village Council, the village’s three day 2008 Labor Day Festival will feature a beer tent to quench the thirst of parched festival goers.

Kingy’s Restaurant will operate the hospitality venue in space donated by Bolenbaugh Hardware, in a parking area to the rear of the Waterloo Street business, and donate all proceeds to the Labor Day Festival.

Festival Chairman Phil Hanlon said the area will be fenced off, only beer will be served, and activity monitored by law enforcement inside and outside the tent. Kingy’s is covering costs associated with operation of the temporary beer hall, including permits, insurance, and inventory.

"It has worked with other festivals and they didn’t have any problems," Hanlon told council during its Aug. 4 meeting. "We’ll have one police officer inside and one posted outside. This is a test run for this year. The Violet Festival has them, their tent was also operated by Kingy’s, and we will have capable officers on duty."

Councilman John Bender voiced concern about the beer garden, but Councilman Victor Paini emphasized the tent is a privately-funded event on private property and is not financially supported by the village.

"I want to make that point perfectly clear," stated Paini.

According to Hanlon, the annual festival costs between $37,000 and $40,000 and manages to break even, although the committee has a $10,000 rainy day back-up fund in the event expenditures outpace revenue. If the beer tent is successful, the festival’s coffers will benefit with funds that can be used for future projects.

In a related matter, council approved a resolution authorizing the Labor Day Festival Committee to operate the annual event on streets and sidewalks throughout the village. Hanlon reported the Labor Day Parade, no longer under the direction of the local Lions Club, will be operated by a group of volunteers.

Grant scrutinized

Financial support of Canal Winchester Human Services came under review before approval of a $14,000 bed tax grant request.

Councilman Bruce Jarvis said it was the consensus of the finance committee to recommend approval of the request, contingent on money spent on programming and not administrative costs.

"Administration is running about 50 percent of their budget," reported Jarvis. "We want to make sure the grant goes 100 percent towards programming. This (grant) is 17 to 18 percent of their overall operating budget. I feel we’re entitled to ask some probing questions."

Instead of issuing the grant all at one time, council wants oversight through a purchase request process, which, Jarvis told council, would afford the village the opportunity to keep an eye on grant-related expenditures.

"I move to approve the request on condition the money be used strictly for programming," said Jarvis, "and the money be administered through the village finance officer through a purchase order system. When looking at charitable organizations, that’s (50 percent) a pretty high percentage. But we don’t want to say no."

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