By Rosemary K. Otzman
A big St. Patrick’s Day Party will be put on by Egan’s Irish Pub on the Fourth Street Square on Monday, March 17, with the bar opening at 7 a.m.
At its regular meeting Jan. 21, the Belleville City Council unanimously approved use of the city’s square for the event, which will run from 7 a.m. March 17 to 2 a.m. March 18.
A big tent will be put up, maybe on March 15, to close off all of the Fourth Street Square, except for the walkway next to the Bayou Grille.
John Winter said the tent will be the same one used by the Bayou for their wedding in 2012.
A bar will be out in the tent along with a stage for Irish bands. The last band is scheduled to start playing at 10 p.m. Jennifer Winter said they are acoustical bands so it shouldn’t be loud enough to bother the neighbors.
Councilwoman Kim Tindall asked if Egan’s has talked to the neighbors and they said they haven’t except for John Burke, next door. They are sure insurance agent Ryan Taylor, two doors down, won’t mind.
They did talk to the Bayou Grill, across the square from them, and the Bayou said they might like to do a Mardi Gras event out there.
There are plans for a public address system and porta-potties outside.
Belleville Police Chief Gene Taylor said the city will have to do a diagram for the Michigan Liquor Control Commission who will be asked to grant a permit once the city approves the event.
Chief Taylor said he talked to the LCC earlier that day and the event has to have a barricade in place to keep the party inside and so people can’t roll up the side of the tent and get in and out.
Winter said they plan to have a contingency diagram with a snow fence if it’s warm enough for that or it can be heated, if necessary, if it’s cold.
Councilman Tom Fielder asked about security, and Winter said he didn’t want to call them “bouncers,” but he would have security. Everyone at the event will have to be at least 21 years of age and everyone will have to show identification to get a wrist band, he said.
Mike Renaud, a member of the city planning commission, asked if there is that big a demand for them to open the bar at 7 a.m. on a Monday morning.
Winter said the demand on St. Patrick’s Day is unbelievable and in Detroit people start lining up at the Irish pubs at 5 a.m.
Renaud asked if this will interfere with the annual St. Patrick’s Day event held by Johnny’s restaurant and Winter said he has talked to them and their event is always on a Saturday. It will not interfere.
City Manager Diana Kollmeyer said the DPW, police chief, and fire chief have all approved the plans.
Councilwoman Tindall asked the council to think about the tradition they’re setting in discussing the sale of alcohol on city property. She said the Fourth Street Square is not a park.
Winter said the city already has approved serving alcohol in the square by approving the Bayou wedding held there.
Council members pointed out that was a private party, but Councilman Tom Fielder reminded them the council did approve an outdoor café ordinance.
The vote was unanimous to approve the event.
In other business at the 36-minute meeting on Jan. 21, the council:
• Unanimously re-elected Councilman Jack Loria as the council’s Mayor Pro Tem;
• Approved a resolution to approve the SMART Specialized Services Operating Assistance Program for fiscal year 2015 for a grant to be used by the Belleville Area Senior Transportation Committee;
• Heard Mayor Kerreen Conley say the council members got information on snow removal ordinances in their packets at the meeting and can study the information before discussing it at an upcoming meeting;
• Approved accounts payable of $776,365.92 and the following departmental purchases in excess of $500: Blue Ribbon contracting, 2” water line fix, $2,150; Clearzoning, site plan review, $474; Environmental Quality, sewer cleaning/CCTV, $5,829.73; Farmer Underwood, sand, $950.12; MI Taser Distributing, taser, $878.64 from Drug Fund; and SMART for vehicle repair, $1,344.68;
• Learned the audit report will be on the agenda of the next meeting, Feb. 3, along with an amended fee schedule, and review of the snow removal ordinance;
• Watched former Councilwoman Kay Atkins present a quilt she made for Police Chief Taylor to thank him for all the things he does for the community;
• Heard Councilwoman Tindall thank Chief Taylor for getting a 50% grant – about $400 — to purchase a taser. City Manager Kollmeyer said it was from Michigan Municipal Risk Management and Chief Taylor knows how to get those grants;
• Heard DPS Director Keith Boc explain the bill for $7,000 he has sent to DTE for damage made by their contractor to a 2” water service line in front of Contract Welding. DTE sent the bill on to its insurance company. The incident happened on Christmas Eve and he and two other DPW members worked until midnight. He said they were short one employee because he was on vacation;
• Heard mayor Pro Tem Loria publicly thank his neighbor Steve for going out and shoveling around fire hydrants each time it snows. Loria, a former fire chief, said of fire hydrants, “When you need them, you want them”;
• Heard Chief Taylor give great credit to fire officers and DPW crews who work on the water main breaks and jump in holes to make sure people have warm water. “I give those guys credit for dealing with water when it’s so cold,” he said; and
• Heard Atkins say since the water bills are going up, up, up, she suggested the city look into joining with Sumpter Township on a water/sewer project she has heard about. Boc said because of the Detroit bankruptcy there is talk of selling off the water system to a private concern, but he didn’t know about a Sumpter project. Mayor Conley said she didn’t know about any such projects in Sumpter, either, but she will check with Sumpter.
By Rosemary K. Otzman