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Fredericksburg Fourth of July celebration to take new direction

By PAUL LOCHER Staff Writer Published: April 22, 2017 5:00 AM

FREDERICKSBURG -- The village's annual Fourth of July celebration will take a new direction this year, now that the Fredericksburg Ruritan Club, which for many years organized the event, has dissolved.

Village council on Monday, April 10, heard a presentation by Tanya Chupp, who plans to take the reins of the event with the help of a committee. Chupp came to the council to request that West Clay, Water and Diagonal Streets in the village be closed for much of July 4 starting at 7 a.m. to facilitate some new activities.

Chupp said the village's annual parade -- known as the "Biggest Small-Town Parade in Wayne County" -- will be held as usual, but with fewer trophies awarded.

In the past, about 30 sponsored trophies have been presented each year in a large number of categories. It was noted, however, that the Ruritan organization used the trophy sponsorships as a fund raising tool. This year, Chupp said, trophies will be awarded only to the top five entires in the parade.

Chupp said the new vision for Fredericksburg's Fourth of July celebration is to have "a whole carnival day" with food trucks, games for kids and activities for everyone in the community.

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Seed money for getting the event off the ground will be provided by the Fredericksburg Market, which is owned by Tanya and her husband, Joe, a member of the village council. Tanya said the store has a Market Mission fund, which can be used for such an activity.

Mayor Jan Lemon told council she has had, with increasing frequency, conversations with village residents who are concerned that the character of Fredericksburg is changing.

Lemon said residents saw three historic homes and a barn, as well as the town's iconic 1880s church, torn down to make way for the new Presbyterian Church in the middle of the downtown, and additional homes being demolished in the area where the new Green Field Dairy will be constructed at the northern edge of the village.

"They're concerned with the progress of the village," said Lemon. "They see the town as changing, and that's not what they want."

Lemon said that, from her perspective, "Nothing is being hurt. It's being improved."

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Council members voiced the opinion that what was happening is just progress making its impact as progress necessarily does, with the town growing and changing as a result.

Village solicitor Chris Oehl reminded council members that what happens in the village is something they have control over, and that considering zoning is always an option. Council members, however, didn't indicate they were interested in pursuing zoning.

Council voted to form two committees, a street committee and a finance committee. It is the first time council has ever had committees, and the idea spawned protracted discussion. It was decided that all members of council would be members of both committees.

Village council's next meeting will be Monday, May 8.

Reporter Paul Locher can be reached at 330-682-2055.

or at plocher@the-daily-record.com.


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