EAST PALESTINE Don't move fair, council panel says
Moving the fair would cost the Legion most of its profits, one councilman said.
By NANCY TULLIS
VINDICATOR SALEM BUREAU
EAST PALESTINE -- City council's street committee will recommend the council not change the location of the annual street fair.
"It's a tough decision," said Councilman Jeff Rowland, street committee chairman. "No one wants the street fair in their back yard, so it's a situation where no matter what we do, there's going to be someone who's not happy."
Some residents complained of noise and congestion in their neighborhoods, and want the street fair to be moved back to Market Street, the city's main street through the downtown business district.
Residents Carolyn Wilson and Shirley Glavan recently presented the city council a petition signed by 600 people who want the fair to be back on Main Street.
Members of the American Legion Post 31 who sponsor the fair want the fair to remain on Rebecca and Walnut streets next year. This year's fair was in June, but planning has already begun for next year.
Rowland said because of electrical and water connections required for the fair, it would cost the Legion about $10,000 to move the fair back to Market Street.
The street fair each June is the Legion's biggest fund-raiser of the year, and much of the money is given to local charities, Rowland said.
He said street committee members don't believe council has the right to force the Legionnaires to move the street fair, especially not at such great expense.
He said the $10,000 about equals the Legion's annual profits for the fair.
"It's their street fair; it should be their decision," he concluded.
Until five years ago, the annual event was set up on Market Street.
Wilson said some former residents who once made the annual street fair a homecoming event have not returned since it was moved to side streets.
Legionnaires said they moved the fair off Market Street five years ago because of street construction projects. They feared the festival revenue would decline with the move, but it has increased each year, they said.
Most of the proceeds come from amusement rides, and when the fair is on Market Street the rides are limited, they said.
Legionnaires said when they asked about returning the fair to Market Street after the street construction was completed, city officials said they would have to keep one lane of Market Street open to traffic for security and liability reasons.