Council shuffles fall art fest site

Riverfront construction forced the Stillwater City Council Tuesday to shuffle the site of next month’s Fall Jazz and Art Festival.

Confusion about the site of this year’s festival led Councilman Doug Menikheim to request the festival’s permit application be pulled from the consent agenda for discussion. City Administrator Larry Hansen referred to City Engineer Shawn Sanders to clear up the confusion.

Sanders said when the event permit was presented, Greater Stillwater Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Todd Streeter was asked to provide alternate sites due to construction.

“I had called the chamber within the past few days to discuss the final location now that we have the schedule down but it wasn’t returned. And within the past few days, I heard that it would be held near the River Market lot and I didn’t see a location or hear about it until I was checking my emails,” Sanders said.

“The original application asked for the north end of Lowell Park and the south end of Lowell Park.” Streeter said. “Ms. Wolf was told by an individual from the parking commission that realistically, the south end would be available about a week or two ago, so we redid our plan at south end or lot nine. And there would be a council waiving of the fee because of the accommodation, but there wouldn’t be adequate power or space. So we looked at lot seven near the Maple Island property. The power boxes are operable and the power is for the food trucks that will be there. The space could work for us and we’ve had meetings with River Market and Maple Island. We negotiated some parking spaces and also managed to adjust for some artists as well.”

The only issue raised by Stillwater Police Chief John Gannaway was to ensure emergency vehicles could get through at the festival site.

After working through the issue, the council and Streeter eventually decided to hold the event Oct. 5-6 in parking lot seven near the corner of Water and Mulberry streets. The move is likely to result in partial road closures downtown at the south entrance of the south parking lot on the Mulberry side during the festival.

Other actions by the council Tuesday included:

  • Learning downtown parking lots will be closed on Monday for replaning as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers begins wrapping up their work and the Public Works Department starts resurfacing the parking lots.
  •  Learning City Development Director Bill Turnblad was beginning to set up a selection committee to help make a decision on a summer festival. The selection committee will include two council members and a yet-to-be-determined event planner along with other city administrators to choose finalists for the submitted summer festival proposals. Finalists are expected to be presented at the Oct. 1 council meeting.
  •  Learning an agreement was reached with Water Street Inn regarding the trash enclosure at the hotel. Turnblad said Chuck Dougherty and the downtown gas station reached an agreement to share a trash enclosure located on the gas station’s lot. Designs for the trash enclosure will be submitted to the Heritage Preservation Commission soon.
  • Tableing discussion about the downtown revitalization committee to a future meeting. Mayor Harycki said some business owners want to talk with council before any decisions were made.
  •  Approving creation of a community beautification fund. An earlier agreement by council about the fund was reworded to include the whole community. Council members Mike Polehna and Doug Menikheim came to the agreement that $15,000 of the fund could be used specifically for the beautification of downtown.

Contact Avery Cropp at [email protected]