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Arts festival returns to Firestone Park

January 9, 2012
By KATIE SCHWENDEMAN - Staff Writer ( , Morning Journal News

COLUMBIANA - Firestone Park will be the site of a new and improved arts and crafts festival this summer.

City Council approved the reintroduction of the event this week and Larry Dedrick said plans are already in motion to attract more vendors than before.

A festival was held at the park in years past but was discontinued due to lack of volunteers and vendors.

Dedrick, a member of the Tourism Bureau and Chamber of Commerce, said more people are showing an interest in locally made antiques and crafts and believes the festival will be a success. He has already volunteered to chair the festival committee.

"I think we can work together to put the arts and crafts festival together. We had over 100 volunteers for the (holiday) light show so I think we can get enough volunteers for the festival," he said.

He also said the festival will be similar to the one held before, with the addition of live music. It is scheduled for the first Saturday in August.

It is undetermined at this time whether admission will be free.

Dedrick said a third of the money raised through the festival will go directly back to the park.

In other business, council appointed member Bryan Blakeman to serve on a fence committee headed up by Park Recreation and Cemetery Board Chairman Dr. Ron Detwiler.

Detwiler said the committee will determine whether to erect a permanent fence around the football field at the park or purchase a new, temporary one. Other committee members are Columbiana School District Superintendent Donald Mook, Athletic Director and football coach Bob Spaite, and a member of the park board.

The school district is one of only two school systems in the state with a football facility and baseball field in a local park, and as such, the responsibility is divided between the school and the city.

The field is open to the public and used on a priority basis.

Detwiler said the temporary fence used around the field for several years is falling apart and unsafe.

"I don't think there is anybody here that will disagree (the fence) needs to be changed, replaced or destroyedthe big discussion is what type of fence do we use?" Detwiler told council members.

A permanent fence may be beneficial, but poses a problem since the park is open to the public and a permanent fence would restrict access, he added.

His suggestion was to use a partial permanent fence that would still allow access at two ends.

The cost of replacing the fence is yet to be determined.

Detwiler also spoke with council briefly about the large population of geese at the park. He said the geese are leaving droppings all over the park, including the football field, and it is posing a health hazard.

The most beneficial way of deterring the geese from portions of the park appears to be a spray, which would be used in those areas, he added.

Council told Detwiler to look into whether the spray would be harmful to humans.

"If it takes some money to spend on a spray we are going to need your support to do that," Detwiler said.



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