Events staking a claim to square

What’s past is prologue, William Shakespeare wrote some 400 years ago. How those words apply to a less tempestuous situation today may influence the future of our fair county’s seat.

Seneca County commissioners agreed to a moratorium on activities at Courthouse Square in mid-July at the request of the common pleas court judges and the sheriff.

Events at the square in the middle of downtown could interfere with operations – including jury trials – at the adjacent Courthouse Annex, it was stated.

One judge opined that Hedges-Boyer Park is better suited to such events.

The first point has merit. It’s not difficult to imagine how a band concert could disrupt a trial.

But the vacant green space has been the first choice for locating activities for a reason. Civic leaders have been staging events such as art fairs and outdoor movies to add vitality to downtown Tiffin, which is why they use Courthouse Square and not Little Hedges Park. The addition of businesses in buildings there is part of that revitalization, as are plans for a streetscape project along the corridor between Heidelberg University and downtown.

Another aspect of that rejuvenation may hinge on what transpires with Courthouse Square. The extent to which that patch of green is viewed as county property – as opposed to public space – could influence where a city-county justice center might be located. As residents become accustomed to inhabiting that green space, surrendering it to use as the site of a new joint justice center could become less palatable.

Tuesday, the commissioners rightfully decided to allow weekend events on the square. An ad hoc committee still is sought to help promulgate guidelines for allowing activities on the Courthouse Square.

Meanwhile, weekend events staged there will continue to set a precedent for future use of the square.