Hobart park board concerned about motorcyle run, party
By Karen Caffarini Post-Tribune correspondent August 13, 2012 11:36PM
Updated: August 14, 2012 2:50PM
HOBART — A veterans group-sponsored motorcycle run and party fundraiser set for Aug. 25 at Festival Park is raising a number of concerns among park board members and officials, including worries that the party could spell disaster for a wedding planned on the grounds the next day.
Parks Supt. John Mitchell said he was concerned that the American Veterans Motorcycle Riders Association has asked the Hobart Jaycees to provide a beer garden for the fundraiser, the proceeds of which will be used to pay for improvements at Veterans Park.
“This is a good cause and we’re jumping all over to give them a hand. But they’re bringing in a beer truck and I’m concerned the whole place will smell like beer the next day,” Mitchell said.
“I don’t want to ruin someone’s wedding,” he added.
Mitchell was also skeptical that the beer truck would be removed in time for the wedding, which will include exchanging of the vows at the bandshell and a reception in the Festival Park Community Center.
Park board members also pointed out that the veterans group did not come to them for approval before organizing the event.
Board members said they didn’t know if there is security being provided at the fundraiser, who will escort the motorcycle ride and what route will it take. They also weren’t sure if the veterans group has obtained a gaming license for the raffles and 50/50 and for the fireworks they planned to shoot off.
“I don’t see how they can pull this off logistically. They haven’t turned anything into us,” said Mitchell, who said after the park board meeting that the event could be in jeopardy.
Bishop and Councilman Jerry Herzog, D-1st, said they secured the date with the parks department about four months ago, however.
“Every thing’s good to go. Every thing’s been taken care of,” Herzog said Monday night. He later added, “They never told us there was a wedding the next day when we asked about dates. Now all of a sudden everyone is concerned just before this is happening?”
Bishop said he doesn’t need a gaming license because they’re giving away under $1,000. He said the fireworks were canceled. He said he assured parks officials the veterans group would clean up after itself, but the Jaycees are not his responsibility.
Board president John Hevel wouldn’t say the event is in jeopardy, but the organizers do need to follow proper procedure. He asked that a meeting take place between the veterans group and park officials as soon as possible to work out any concerns.
Board member Sergio Mendoza also noted that Bishop stated in a newspaper article that he wants to use the money raised in this and subsequent annual motorcycle run events to improve the park, including building more shelters, having more playground equipment, a bandshell, more benches and restrooms.
“Keep in mind we have a master plan in place with projects for Veterans Park that we want to do,” Mendoza said.
The plan calls for a sledding hill to be built in 2013.