Council approves alcohol at festival

Tiffin City Council approved an ordinance that would allow alcohol to be served in Hedges-Boyer Park during the upcoming Tiffin Music and Art Festival and other similar events.

The festival, which is to take place June 7-8, will donate all proceeds to the city’s fireworks display and the parks department.

Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz said the city exceeded the $5,000 down payment needed by Monday for July 4 fireworks and still needs about $4,000 to have the display.

Tiffin Music and Art Festival Chairman Nathan Mullins said the festival is to pay for two police officers to patrol the beer tent, which is the only place alcohol will be allowed to be sold and consumed.

Councilman Brian Bilger said he had doubts about having alcohol in the park initially, but said the festival is something for people of all ages to enjoy. He said several cities have similar activities in their parks, and the alcohol issue has been “blown out of proportion.”

Councilman Rich Cline said if something goes wrong with the festival, council can always make a change.

“This is a music and art festival, where one of the beverages is going to be beer, that’s it,” Councilman Joe Hartzell said.

Tiffin resident Beth Shanabrook voiced her concern about having alcohol served at the event.

“In the past, there have been a lot of times where there were been hard times, and the rules didn’t have to be bent,” she said.

Councilman Jim Roberts, who voted against the ordinance, said he appreciated the festival committee’s cooperation, but he does not believe alcohol should be served in the park.

“We’re going to have a bark park, I don’t think we need a booze park,” Roberts said.

Also during the meeting, Montz said if the turnpike lease goes through, there will be $2 billion for roadway projects. He said 90 percent of that money will be dedicated to roads north of US 30 and will have to be nexuses of the turnpike.

Montz said this money could be used to make SR 53 into a four-lane or a “super” two-lane highway. He said discussions are preliminary.

“There’s a lot of potential with this money,” Montz said. “The wheels are in motion, no pun intended, with the highway money.”

During the Committee of the Whole meeting before the council meeting, Montz spoke about a revitalization district that would bring up to 15 additional liquor licenses to Tiffin.

The proposal is still being worked on, but Montz said it will be a good way to attract new restaurants to the city.

The licenses would only be available for restaurants whose sales are at least 75 percent food-based, so it would not allow for bars to acquire the licenses.

“I think we can all agree that we’re not really in need of any more bars in town, but we would like to see more additional restaurants, whether they’re locally owned or individuals coming from wherever,” Montz said.

Montz also said the city has begun patch work on roads, and said if citizens have a road or alley that needs patching, they should contact the streets department or the engineer’s office.

In new business, council approved the following:

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

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