Concert series coming downtown this summer

By Sheryl Roadcap -

SIDNEY — This summer, Sidney’s historic downtown will host a “high caliber entertainment” concert series on the last Saturday of June, July and August.

At Monday evening’s city council meeting, Raise the Roof for the Arts Executive Director Sarah Barr and Sidney Alive Executive Director Amy Breinich gave basic information on the organizations’ collaboration of Raise the Roof for the Arts — Backstage Block Party concert series. The headlining bands have not been established yet, but Barr assured council they will be “all high quality live bands.”

The concerts will be located in the parking lot behind The Historic Sidney Theatre and the Post Office from 7 to 10 p.m. Beginning at 5:30 p.m., the blocked off concert area will open to sell food and beverages, and will also contain a beer and wine tent. People may take alcoholic drinks throughout the concert area. To purchase alcohol, people 21 years of age and older must produce proper ID and will receive a concert-specific color-coded wrist band. The beer tent will be supervised by Sidney Police.

The venue will be general admission, with no reserved seating. However, people may bring one lawn chair per person. The front stage area will be roped off for dancing space, and for wheelchair accessibility.

Breinich said security is of the “up-most priority.” Therefore, there are a host of prohibited acts/items inside the event area, and they are: no smoking (including e-cigarettes), pets, coolers, firearms, backpacks, purses/bags larger than 8-inches by 10-inches, outside food or beverages, umbrellas, beach balls or inflatables, fireworks, laser pointers, signs with sticks, confetti or silly string, bullhorns/air horns, chains or spiked jewelry, and contraband or illegal substances. Barr said event organizers reserve the right to eject guests who violate any laws or other guests right to a safe and enjoyable experience.

Breinich said the music acts will be attractive to all ages. She said the series will offer an opportunity to showcase Sidney’s historic downtown, which could motivate outsiders to move to or open a business here.

Manager Mark Cundiff also presented council with information on a senate bill on the installation of small cell towers that will become effective in early March. He explained the new law restricts the city from regulating the installation of the antennas and related equipment in the public right of way.

Cundiff said Verizon Wireless recently applied to install two antennas in Sidney; one on Campbell Road in front of Sidney High School, and the other on Fair Road in front of Sidney Middle School. He said although these two installations are not an issue, others could be a problem if located in the historic downtown.

Assistant City Manager/Public Works Director Gary Clough said there is a maximum height of 50-feet for the installations and there are currently four licensed wireless providers able to apply.

Councilman Joe Ratermann ask Clough if there were any foreseeable negatives consequences, if the city could regulate these installations under the health, safety and welfare regulations, and if they had the power to limit the duration of the project.

Clough said the antennas could potentially have negative consequences because they could be placed in an unpleasing area downtown, and could be put in locations where the city may need that particular right of way in the future. He said the city can only apply health, safety and welfare regulations in a limited manner, and he doesn’t think they have the right to limit the duration. He said once the providers invest the money they are not going to move it without a good reason, such as if the city must access the right of way.

Mayor Mike Barhorst rhetorically asked if the high school could end up with several more poles out front. Clough said potentially yes, but it depends on the company that comes in and its reputation as to what to expect they will do. He said Verizon attempts to be a “good neighbor.”

Councilman Darryl Thurber questioned if the installations will interfere with the city’s soon to be installed new radio dispatch system. He was told it would not and has not caused issues in other communities.

Vice Mayor Mardie Milligan asked if they could pass a resolution or do anything in opposition? Cundiff said this bill already passed, so they have little recourse and it is in the injunction phase now.

By Sheryl Roadcap

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.