Labor Day Festival gets cash boost; plus CW comprehensive plan news

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By Linda Dillman
Staff Writer

Canal Winchester’s Labor Day Committee is getting a $30,000 cash infusion from the Canal Winchester City Council.

“The resolution was put together at the request of council based on your last meeting,” said Finance Director Amanda Jackson, “and your willingness to give the Labor Day Committee some money this year.”

During the April 18 council work session, Labor Day Committee Chairperson Carolyn Ebert discussed the financial situation facing the 2022 celebration and asked for additional monetary support from the city.

The cost to put on the annual three-day festival—celebrating its 100th anniversary this year—is approximately $79,000, which includes the cost for stage entertainment, parade bands, electricity, etc.

Part of a $45,000 carryover from the last in-person festival was used in 2021 to stage the Hometown Day celebration last year, which depleted a substantial portion of the startup funds for the 2022 festival. Compounding the issue is a situation where major donors are not able to provide as much financial support as in the past.

“Several of the donors that we’ve approached that have been our key sponsors have indicated that their finances do not allow them to do so this year—our larger sponsors—and that’s where this comes from,” said Ebert.

Development and comprehensive plan
•Council tabled or postponed three development ordinances; one amending the zoning map for 80 acres of land along Winchester Pike owned by Harriet Baker Levin from rural to limited manufacturing and two others associated with the Schacht property.

•Canal Winchester Development Director Lucas Haire said the city entered into a contract on April 29 to update Canal Winchester’s comprehensive plan.

“The next step is to form the steering committee,” said Haire, who said the company creating the plan asked to keep the membership of the committee to 15 to 20 individuals.

“We have reached out to organizations to appoint members during their next meeting,” said Haire.

Before Haire listed the specific organizations and entities comprising the committee, resident Ann Bennett wanted assurances that not just one person was in control of the make-up of the committee.

“What disturbs me deeply about this is that one person becomes the gatekeeper of who’s on that steering committee,” Bennett said. “I am alarmed that the primary gatekeeper to the people serving on the steering committee, who are going to shape our future for the next 20 years, is one person and one person alone.”

Haire assured Bennett and council that he is not a gatekeeper and that he has tried to remove himself from the process as much as possible.

“The steering committee helps guide the planning process over the 10 months it’s anticipated to take,” said Haire. “Ultimately, it’s city council’s position to select the steering committee.”

According to Haire, the committee is comprised of a council representative, the mayor or his appointee, a Planning and Zoning Commission member, a member of the Landmarks Commission, a CWICC trustee, a member of the Canal Winchester Area Historical Society and a representative of the Downtown Business Association.

In addition, there are individuals representing the JRD; Chamber of Commerce; Ashbrook, Canal Cove, Charleston Lakes and Villages of Westchester Homeowner Associations; Olde Town area; a Canal Winchester area in Fairfield County and four at large members.

“There will be many public meetings and many opportunities for public engagement,” said Haire.

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