Council mulls alcohol for park fest

A local music and arts festival hopes to raise $10,000 to donate to the city for this summer’s fireworks display.

Nathan Mullins and Mark Wade of the Tiffin Music and Art Festival spoke to Tiffin City Council Monday night about their plan to raise funds for fireworks and the parks department.

“It’s ambitious, but I think this is what the community needs,” Mullins said. “I got tired of complaining about there not being enough to do, and I did something.”

Last year the festival raised $1,175 which was donated to two charities. Canned good also were collected during the festival and were given to the Sharing Kitchen at 46 Madison St., he said.

This year’s festival, scheduled for June 7-8 at Hedges-Boyer Park, will have four stages and 75 bands and performers, Mullins said.

Mullins and Wade approached council Monday night to ask it to consider allowing alcohol to be served at the festival in a controlled, heavily secured environment.

Mullins said serving alcohol would be the best way to increase attendance and revenue.

“I don’t want this beer garden to be a dark shadow on this (festival),” Wade said.

Wade, who is a trustee at the Eagles, said he has helped organize and run the Eagles’ Heritage Festival beer gardens, and said there would be a “zero-tolerance” at the music and art festival.

“I know there’s liabilities here, but I really do think the possibilities here of what it could bring here in the future are huge,” he said.

Law Director Brent Howard said there is an ordinance that prohibits alcohol to be brought in to, sold in and consumed in any city park. He said council could make an exception to allow alcohol in the park for certain events or festivals.

Tiffin Aaron Montz said many cities allow alcohol to be served at festivals in city parks. He likened the music festival to events like the Jazz and Heritage festivals.

“If we ever were to tell them they couldn’t have alcohol, the Heritage Festival would shut down,” he said. “That is what makes it work. I know it may sound weird, I know it may sound like we’re throwing our morals out the window, but it is 2013 it’s modern day and other communities are doing this with their parks.”

Montz said this idea has a lot of potential, but if something were to go wrong, he would revoke the festival’s permit and not support it in following years.

Mullins said any additional money raised by the festival beyond its goal of $10,000, which is to be donated to the fireworks display, will be donated to the parks department.

He also said he would like to reach out to collaborate with Real Living Generations Realty, which also has a campaign to raise funds for the parks.

Councilmen Tyler Shuff and Joe Hartzell voiced support for the festival, but Hartzell was concerned about parking.

Councilman Jim Roberts said he supported the festival “99.9 percent” but was concerned about underage drinking and said, despite security, “If there’s a will, there’s a way.”

There is to be a Recreation and Public Property Committee Meeting Wednesday to further discuss the festival.

Also during the meeting, Montz read a proclamation declaring March 2013 Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month.

Montz also said the city has submitted a state grant application that would pay for 80 percent of the $800,000 to repair the Rebecca Street bridge. He said he is confident the city will get it.

The city has received $9,400 in its first payment from sweepstakes terminal cafe licenses from Players Club, said Finance Director Gwynn Reinhart.

In new business, council approved:

An ordinance amending a budget ordinance appropriating money for a donation received for the police dog program.

An ordinance levying assessments for the 2012 sidewalk replacement project, and declaring an emergency.

A resolution strongly opposing state passage of House Bill 5, which proposes uniformity measures for municipal income tax in the form of unfunded mandates and a substantial loss of revenue for municipalities, and declaring an emergency.

A resolution approving the reappointment of James Supance to the Sandusky County-Seneca County-City of Tiffin Port Authority.

A resolution approving the reappointment of Dana Scherger to the Thomas Connor Memorial Commission.

Council also heard the first of three readings of:

An ordinance accepting the assignment of a real estate purchase agreement from SIEDC to purchase the property at 25 E. Market St., amending the venture capital fund program plan to allow money in the program to be used for the property purchase, and amending the budget for the expense.

An ordinance reducing the accumulated, unused sick leave payment upon termination in certain circumstances for new employees in compliance with the Ohio Revised Code.

An ordinance increasing a credit on sewer bills for properties within the Miami Street storm sewer drainage district.