By Rosemary K. Otzman
On Monday, April 7, the Belleville City Council removed from its meeting agenda requests from Egan’s Pub to hold two events on the Fourth Street Square until the council can review and update its special events ordinance.
Egan’s wanted to schedule a Half-Way to St. Patrick’s Day event on Sept. 20 and a St. Patrick’s Day event on March 17, 2015. Both events were to have a tent, with bands, food, and alcohol and be open from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m.
Mayor Kerreen Conley said the city is looking at several ordinances for updates, including the special events, animal control, and sign ordinances, all of which should be on the agenda in the next month or so.
Councilman Tom Fielder said the city needs to keep track of all the events that are being scheduled, so they aren’t overlapping.
Mayor Conley said parking was one of the issues with the St. Patrick’s Day party at Egan’s on March 17. She said she received several complaints about people parking in snow banks, across driveways, and other unacceptable places.
She pointed out there is no parking on Liberty Street when the car shows are on in the summer.
“I’m sorry I brought all these people to your town,” said John Winter of Egan’s as he left the council room with his wife Jennifer.
The council also removed from consideration the request from the Central Business Community for use of the Fourth Street Square for the whole month of October for a Boo’Ville celebration, “day and nite.”
Council members directed CBC President Bill Wolters to get more specific about what the CBC wants to do on the square and then come back. He had no details at all on the form he filled out for the council to consider.
Wolters said the CBC in cooperation with the Belleville Area Chamber of Commerce wants to put up a tent for three days for multiple events Oct. 24, 25, and 26. He said local non-profits can use it for pumpkin carvings, pumpkin painting, kids’ movies – in general, three days of non-stop activities.
Councilman Jack Loria asked Wolters to explain Boo’Ville, which he said is a “month-long celebration for the city.”
Councilman Loria’s wife, Rosemary, actually first presented the Boo’Ville idea at a meeting of the Belleville Downtown Development Authority, where she is a member. She said she and Wolters thought up the celebration while visiting the crowd of witches that gathered at Egan’s Pub last Halloween season.
Carol Thompson, coordinator of the Belleville DDA (and chairman of the VBT Planning Commission), said actually the celebration will be for those throughout the 48111 zip code. She said they will ask the Van Buren Township DDA to move Halloween decorations up Belleville Road to continue the city’s decorations.
Councilman Fielder said VBT Parks and Recreation Director Jennifer Wright was at one of the Boo’Ville planning meetings and she is looking at expanding activities into the township.
“Boo’Ville is the umbrella for the programming,” explained Steve Jones, who is president of the Belleville Area Council for the Arts and chairman of the city planning commission.
The project planners needs to decide how they will handle vendors who want to participate and Mayor Conley said she wants to make sure outside vendors don’t compete with local businesses.
In other business at the April 7 meeting, the council:
• Held a one-minute public hearing on the budgeting of federal Community Development Block Grant funding of $57,000 for 2014, with no public wishing to comment. The council later approved the budget, with $40,470 of the money for barrier-free improvements. City Manager Diana Kollmeyer said they will check to see if those funds can be used at the new kayak launch going up at Horizon Park this summer;
• Approved a hold-harmless agreement with Van Buren Township, which owns most of the shoreline on Belleville Lake, for the proposed Horizon Park Waterfront Improvements funded by a grand from the MDNR’s Natural Resources Trust Fund. Thompson said the DDA is still waiting for the legislature and the governor to approve the DNR budget, but working on permits and engineering is permitted at this point;
• Approved Buddy Poppy sales on May 8, 9, and 10 at Five Points and other locations on Main Street by the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4434 and the Polish Legion of American Veterans Post 167;
• Approved the following CBC activities: Flop E Bunny candy hunt at noon April 19 at Victory Park, Taste of Belleville and Boat Show with the Bridge Walk starting at 5 p.m. on Aug. 21, and Halloween trick or treating downtown from 5 to 7 p.m. on Oct. 31;
• Approved the Canton Lions Club’s White Cane fund raising on Main Street April 25 through May 3, from about 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day;
• Approved the Knights of Columbus fund-raising drive on Main Street April 11-13 to earn money for the mentally impaired with a Tootsie Roll drive;
• Approved accounts payable of $133,430.17 and the following departmental purchases in excess of $500: Blue Ribbon Contracting, water main repair, $1,900; BS&A, computer equipment (water) $1,250; Firehouse Software, contract renewal, $735; RICOH, support renewal, Capital Improvements, $1,232; and Service Electric Supply, iron poles for way-finding signs, DDA, $7,223.33;
• Heard Carol Ann Fausone introduce herself as being a candidate for 21st District State Representative. She explained that she and her husband Jim Fausone run a program that offers legal help for veterans and there will be a veterans’ seminar at the Yankee Air Museum from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on June 11;
• Heard Councilman Fielder say interim Police Chief Hal Berriman had concerns with left turns from Fourth Street on Main near the proposed crosswalk. They may have to take out a parking spot to make it safe;
• Approved allowing the Belleville Women’s Club to raffle off up to two rides in the Belleville Fire Truck for the Strawberry Festival Parade; and
• Heard Fire Chief Bryan Loranger announce the recent boot drive collected $2,038 which has been sent to the Autism Foundation. There was some discussion over the procedure followed by firemen collecting in the area of the Belleville Bridge and walking in traffic to the DiPietro & Day law office area, delaying drivers. Chief Loranger said maybe they’d better stick to Five Points next year.
By Rosemary K. Otzman