Saline City council voted 6-1 in favor of the Saline Community Fair’s request to waive the fee for renting the city’s mobile stage. Fair Association President Kevin Ernst said the fair is experiencing money trouble because of reduced state aid and smaller crowds caused by poor weather during recent years. The fair has canceled the annual parade in downtown Saline to save money, Ernst noted. He requested the city waive the $1,200 rental fee and that the fair still pay the $480 pickup and drop off fees.
Council member Dean Girbach voted against the request.
“When it was in the city, it was something we had a direct connection to. I’d like to see us charge a little bit,” Girbach said.
Council member David Rhoads supported the fair's request.
“I think the fair is another one of the activities that help make us the community we are. Anything we can do to help the fair thrive is a worthwhile thing,” Rhoads said.
Mayor Gretchen Driskell also supported the request.
“The fair parade is something we will all miss. The fair is part of our heritage here. I think this is a reasonable request in light of the challenges the Fair faces,” Driskell said.
The fair takes place Aug. 28 to Sept. 2 at the Washtenaw Farm Council grounds. (Click here for event listings).
In other news from Aug. 13 Saline City Council meeting:
Distinguished Young Woman Honored
Mayor Driskell recognized Chrissy Houle, the recent Saline High School graduate who was second runner up in the national Distinguished Young Woman Contest. (See Video).
Main Street Update
Saline Main Street Director Kelly Idzikowski updated council on happenings. The Summer Music Series has been a success, she said. During a recent move to Liberty School, Main Street used social media and Saline Patch to move the concert with ease, she said.
Brecon Grille and Mangiamo have both agreed to lease their back alley for a small cost. Main Street is planning to beautify the alley and turn it into a courtyard somewhat similar to the one at Murphy’s Crossing.
Main Street is fast at work on Oktoberfest, she said. The organization is also working on a comprehensive media list for the purposes of publicity and stressing a higher use of Facebook to connect with people. (For more on Main Street, visit www.salinemainstreet.org.)
City Approves Liquor License for New Mexican Restaurant
City council unanimously approved Cancun Mexican Grill’s request for the city’s new liquor license. The restaurant may be open by October, according to co-owner Ismael Leon. (Click here for the story.)
Resignation Accepted, City Boards Need Volunteers
City Council accepted the resignation of Parks Commission member Mike Popovitz.
“I’d like to give special thanks to Mike for serving as long as he did on the commission. He was a champion of the Green Thumb Award. He’ll be tough to replace. He was a hard working guy,” said council member Jim Peters.
There are now two openings on the Parks Commission and openings on the Arts and Culture Committee, too. Anyone interested in volunteering on any of the city’s boards is invited to fill out this application.
Historic District Issues
City Council member Dean Girbach reported that a resident in the historic district decided to replace windows in a home without pulling a permit. The Historic District Commission has agreed to pursue and rectify the situation, Girbach said. The district almost had another situation where a homeowner was in the process of replacing historic windows when he was stopped by a city official.
Girbach said the city might need to change the way it issues some permits. He also said the commission may need to do more to educate district property owners about what they can and can not do.
Driskell suggested that annual barbecue’s might be a helpful and proactive way to let people know about the economic benefits of preserving the features of a historic home. Driskell suggested a periodic newsletter and recognition of positive work done in the district might also help.
Girbach agreed. Still, he said, the commission was having difficulty with a resident who understood the guidelines but tore out the historic windows anyway.
The Historic District Commission is charged with preserving the historic district’s character.
City Council Ready for Ice Cream Social Events
Council member Brian Marl reminded council members of the annual Old Fashion Ice Cream Social at the Weber-Blaess One Room School. The event, which raises money for upkeep of the school house, is scheduled from 1-4 p.m. Aug. 26. City Council members will compete against Saline Area Schools officials in watermelon seed spitting. (For more, click here.)