by Joshua Maloni
The Village of Lewiston Board of Trustees will review recommendations related to closing Center Street (for festivals or large-scale events) at its 6 p.m. work session on Monday.
In September, Mayor Terry Collesano formed an ad hoc committee to review how, when and why the village's main thoroughfare is closed. The panel wasted little time in drafting a letter that suggests the creation of an all-encompassing event application and event/procedure form.
"It seemed like there was no set application form or process to get approval" to close Center Street, said Rick Haight. The Lewiston Advisory Committee chairman and proprietor of Advanced Design Group is one of five members on the ad hoc committee, alongside Village of Lewiston Police Commissioner Al Soluri, Chamber of Commerce President Jennifer Pauly, Lewiston Volunteer Fire Co. No. 1 Chief Kevin Macaulay and Fourth Street resident Pat Walker.
"It seemed like different entities weren't involved," Haight said, emphasizing the ad hoc committee's event application specifically calls for input from the Lewiston police and fire departments, as well as the chamber, local businesses and residents. The goal is to make sure all parties affected by Center Street's closing have a say on the matter, Haight said, and to hopefully get all groups on the same page.
Collesano said the ad hoc committee "obviously did their homework." He said "a lot of things were already in place" in regard to communicating with the chamber and first responders on previous festival applications, but he noted his ad hoc committee "had a lot of good points."
The mayor acknowledged there is some discontent from local retailers on the way in which Center Street is closed - in particular, some organizations "possibly haven't been following through with the businesses" in terms of preventing an outline of where outside vendors will be located on the street and in proximity to the village's merchants.
Procedurally, the ad hoc committee's event application process would work thusly: Organization A seeks to close Center Street for a festival or large-scale event in 2012. The group would be charged a small fee to submit a preliminary request to the Village Board. Trustees would share the plan (including date/time, layout and number of vendors/performers) with the first responders. Following that conversation, and pending any changes, the application and event form would then be submitted by Feb. 28 to the chamber, which would disseminate the information to local businesses and check for any date/time conflicts. Trustees could then vote on the street closing and, if they consent, notify the public of the festival's particulars.
Collesano said the ad hoc committee did a "bang-up job." But, "now it's up to the Village Board to weigh all these considerations" and make a final Center Street closing determination.