SIDNEY — Sidney’s upcoming Civil War Living History Weekend moves a step closer to coming together by Sidney City Council approving the temporary suspension of Tawawa Park hours during the event.
The re-enactment is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 17 and 18, but in order to allow for the arrival and set-up of re-enactors beginning on Friday, council approved the suspension of vehicular traffic for Friday, Saturday and Sunday, that weekend.
Sidney Recreation Board Director Duane Gaier said “support vehicles” will be provided for the elderly and disabled; otherwise, people may only walk or ride a bicycle through the sectioned off areas of the park. Volunteer re-enactors will guide people along, and prohibit attendees from entering roped-off sections devoted to re-enactments.
Gaier also reported that on July 25 City Manager Mark Cundiff approved the Shelby County Historical Society’s request for a noise variance — which “only applies to those activities directly associated with the event.”
During the war re-enactments, actors will be shooting-off blanks from guns and cannons that will be loud and realistic sounding, so Councilman Ed Hamaker requested for the park’s staff to warn adjacent park neighbors about the expected loud noises.
Councilman Darryl Thurber and Vice Mayor Mardie Milligan expressed concern and questioned the safety for citizens from the guns to be used, despite the blanks, and fires created by re-enactors. Gaier assured council the guns and cannon(s) used will be aimed in safe directions far away from people. Shelby County Historical Society Executive Director Tilda Phlipot assured council they have had fires at several other events, and there will be “no damage” because of the method in which the sod is removed and replaced.
After her request for clarification, Gaier told Milligan people will still have access to visit and park at Flanagan Sports Complex and Baumgardner Basin during that weekend. He said vehicular traffic will only be closed from from Whipp Road, back.
In other business, council was introduced to two ordinances on Paint the Town membership updates and to impose a moratorium for a period of 270 days on the granting of any permit for medical marijuana.
In the Paint the Town ordinance, Community Services Director Barbara Dulworth recommended any donor who donates at least 3 percent of the annual city budget for the Paint the Town program should become a committee member for the year (if they are interested in joining). The revision also includes language to “establish rules and operating procedures by which the business of the committee shall be conducted.” Due to the vast size of the committee, the provision will allow a minimum number of members to constitute a quorum capable of reviewing and awarding funds, rather than the necessary simple majority.
The other ordinance will impose a moratorium for nine months in granting any permit allowing retail dispensaries, cultivators or processors of medical marijuana within the city of Sidney.
Law Director Jeffrey Amick said, “While it may be sometime before medical marijuana would be available in Sidney, it would seem prudent to issue the moratorium for nine months to allow staff time to study the law and to determine if additional restrictions on the locations and number of medical marijuana dispensaries be permitted for the community. The moratorium would also allow for the rules and regulations for cultivators to be issued and presumably adopted.”
The issue will return to the board on Aug. 22.
Other than the Civil War weekend park hours suspension, council adopted four other resolutions, and they include:
• Authorization for the city to submit a grant application to Department of Transportation (ODOT) for operating and capital. This will be for 2017 funding from the Rural Transit Operating and Capital grant programs. Also for the city to “execute” a contract with the Ohio Department of Transportation after the application is accepted.
• Authorization for the city manager to enter into the contract with ODOT for the elderly and disabled transit fare assistance. The program reimburses the city for half of the $2.50 general public rate for non-contract trips for the disabled or people over 65-years-old.
• Support for development of the U.S. bike route 25 through Sidney. The route starts in Ohio in Toledo and travels to Cincinnati. In Sidney, it enters from the north on Wapakoneta Avenue and follows the County Road 25A corridor along the roadways through Sidney. It will be of no cost to the city, and if Sidney chooses to add a paved path off of the city roads in the future, it can make those changes at later time.
• The ratification and accepting of the Mill Creek Estates replat of three lots to create two lots that was originally approved by council on Nov. 28, 2005. The original document was lost. This approval allows the city to record the approval of the original replat given in 2005, which is identical to the original, and meets all current Zoning Code and Subdivision Regulations.
Hamaker asked Assistant City Manager/Public Works Director Gary Clough when Port Jefferson Road will be complete, and Clough informed the road should be open by early next week.
Cundiff told council the state Route 47 improvements will be funded by ODOT, but that the city was not approved for the Russell Road construction. He said this project will be pushed back a year, as they will reapply.
Councilman Steve Wagner relayed some citizen’s dissatisfaction of state Route 47 going from a four-lane down to a two-lane road and questioned it. Clough said traffic study was completed and they found traffic to be “well below what a two-lane road can handle.” He said the change will slow down traffic to prevent racing and regular accidents into the median on the road.
Council also went into an executive session to consider the purchase of property and the compensation of a public employee.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.