BOARDMAN Bull and Bear's outdoor stage raises concerns
Most are waiting to see how the theater will fit into the already congested landscape.
By JOHN W. GOODWIN JR.
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
BOARDMAN -- A local tavern's plan to bring in popular bands to play on an outdoor theater stage -- starting tonight -- has some neighboring businesses whistling an unhappy tune.
Tonight's premiere concert featuring Jan and Dean and The Kingsmen at the B & amp;B Backstage behind the Bull and Bear Tavern on Boardman-Poland Road will take place inside an area surrounded by a 6-foot fence the owners installed. The area contains a permanent outdoor stage and portable seats for about 1,000 spectators.
The fence is one of the main concerns of Outback Steakhouse, also at the rear of the Tavern, said Outback owner Dave Kellick. Travelers had a clear view of his restaurant from the road, but the fence has obstructed that view, Kellick said. The restaurant's signs are visible at night when turned on, but during the day, visibility is a problem, he said.
"Anytime you build a fence in a commercial area it conceals other businesses and confines everything," he said.
Township zoning officials said Bull and Bear owners are permitted to add such a fence to their property.
Kellick is also concerned that the concerts at the tavern will have an adverse effect on parking and traffic in the area. The noise from such concerts, he said, will also be a problem because his business is so close to where the concerts will be held.
Up the road is Chili's Grill & amp; Bar, where owner Corey Ward has a few concerns regarding the outdoor theater. Ward, who also produces outdoor special events, said the theater will likely draw larger crowds than the 1,000-seating capacity, which would lead to parking problems and crowds of people for which there is not enough space.
"It's such a small place back there, it's not business-smart," he said. "The location is not capable of handling that many people."
Ward said he has been led to believe that any problems with traffic or crowds at the B & amp;B Backstage could cause problems for him if he wants to hold special events in the township. Township administrator Curt Seditz, however, said that is not the case.
Seditz said events at the outdoor theater are not going to affect what other businesses here do in the future. He also said Bull and Bear Tavern owners have worked closely with the township to alleviate any concerns about overcrowding and traffic.
"We don't know what is going to happen in the future because it has not happened yet, but we cannot tell a property owner that he cannot use his property as such," said Seditz. "We are obviously going to watch the crowds and we have made it clear that police and fire will watch out for the interest of the public."
A wait-and-see approach
Most neighboring business owners and managers seem to have the same wait-and-see attitude as Bob Bowen, manager of Kmart, which sits directly next to the Bull and Bear Tavern and has a very large parking lot. Bowen said the store is waiting to see what, if any, problems the theater creates before issuing an opinion. He will have a problem if concertgoers take up the parking in his lot and leave a mess at the end of the night, he said.