Council committee OKs exception to alcohol rule

The city has moved one step forward in allowing an exception to its ordinance banning alcohol to be served, consumed or purchased in city-owned parks.

The Recreation and Public Property Committee agreed to have Law Director Brent Howard prepare legislation based on previous discussions and other municipalities’ ordinances for a vote at Monday’s Tiffin City Council meeting.

Over the past couple weeks, council has discussed allowing alcohol to be served at the Tiffin Music and Art Festival, which is to raise funds for the city’s July 4 fireworks display and the parks department.

“This is our gift to the community,” Nathan Mullins of the festival said.

Mark Wade, a festival organizer, said the group is willing to compromise with council, and has agreed to ban people younger than 21 from the area where alcohol will be served.

Mullins said the festival has generated some interest from the community, and he said Lucius Fence Company has agreed to donate fencing for the event.

Mark Hayes, of the Recreation and Public Property Committee, said he was concerned about having only volunteer security present at the festival.

Mullins said he is planning to contact Police Chief Fred Stevens to discuss the cost to have the police department on patrol as well as his recommendation on how much security is needed for the event.

Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz said the festival would be a good opportunity to use auxiliary officers – unpaid but fully uniformed officers.

Wade also said the festival will no longer offer overnight camping, which both Montz and City Administrator Deb Reamer said was among their biggest concerns.

In order to have a fireworks display this summer, the city must pay $5,000 by the end of March. Montz said the city has about half of that and still is looking to raise the rest.

The festival as well as Real Living Generations Realty hope to raise the remaining $7,000 to pay for fireworks.

In other business, Hayes said he is unsure if purchasing the Hotel Stalsworth property is a good idea, if the city is going to have to tear down both the former hotel building and the warehouse building behind it.

Tyler Shuff, member of the Recreation and Public Property Committee, said he is also on the fence about buying the property without knowing for a sure a business has committed to buying the warehouse building.

Montz said he expects to have an update about the property for Monday’s council meeting.