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Residents voice concerns to Millersburg Council

By KEVIN LYNCH Staff Writer Published: July 8, 2017 5:00 AM

MILLERSBURG -- A pair of Millersburg residents sounded off at council June 26 about concerns in the village.

Andrea Kellogg expressed her concern over council voting down holding the beer garden on village property during the Thunder Over Holmes County celebration the July Fourth weekend.

"This seemed to be a knee-jerk reaction because somebody complained," Kellogg said. "Somebody complains and that person gets all the attention. Were there safety concerns? Why all of a sudden would something that had been allowed not be allowed. Were there disorderly conducts or OVIs or something that came from the beer garden. I wasn't aware of any.

"I feel you six sit here as representatives of the whole town," she continued. "And I think when people have their own agendas of being anti-alcohol, or anti-something, I don't know if that's representative of everybody that lives here. I've talked to a lot of people and not one person has had a problem with this beer garden."

Bob Shoemaker defended his no vote on the beer garden by saying, "If you do it for one group, you have to do it for all groups."

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"We said no a few years ago for the Riverfest," he continued. "If you do it for one group, you've got to do it for everybody. That's why I voted no."

Junior Vaughn said he saw no reason for it.

"That's your own personal thing, and not representative of what the people may want," Kellogg said. "If you heard complaints from people, I could understand."

Kellogg cited other knee-jerk reactions, such as making a handicap spot for a resident, but changing the spot as soon as that resident moves, or spending taxpayers' money on making Millersburg a Tree City without seeing if that's what everyone in the town wanted.

"Government is about protecting the community and being its voice," she said. "It shouldn't be about 'that's not fair because we didn't get to do that.' That's the problem with government -- not representing the whole. I think this is a symptom of what always ends up happening. I don't think a lot of you represent what a lot of people in the community want."

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She said it is hard for committees that plan things and then having the rug jerked out from under them because somebody doesn't think it's right.

"I don't think that's how you should run government," she said.

Mayor Jeff Huebner pointed out that the vote was not against having a beer garden, but having it on village property.

"I think it was more a decision of location, than not being allowed to have it," Huebner said.

Critchfield, Critchfield and Johnston has allowed the festival to use its parking lot for the beer garden.

"I think things should be more thoughtfully planned out than just knee-jerk reactions," Kellogg added. "As a government, you represent 3,500 people, not just one or two."

Judy Lamp, executive director of Historic Downtown Millersburg, host of the Thunder over Holmes County, said they have received one complaint in three years about the beer garden.

"We never had any issues, and that beer garden pays for 50 percent of what's going on that weekend," she said. "If the beer garden goes away, we'll have to cut 50 percent of the event would have to go away."

Shane Cultice of the Eagles Aerie said they have a beer garden on their property every year during the Fourth of July celebration, and would welcome the opportunity to share their space with someone from the community.

Another resident, Betty Patterson, voiced her concern over skateboarders on the sidewalks of Millersburg.

"I know you're dealing with sidewalk issues, but there is another issue that is a concern to me," Patterson said. "That's kids skateboarding down the street. I haven't seen a lot of them, but I'm starting to see them again, some very near misses where they almost hit something, especially if there's two of them going down the sidewalk.

"I hate to interfere with young people having a good time, but my biggest concern is someone getting hit," she continued. "If they get hurt, it's bad for the young people, too. If the village doesn't control this and put signs up prohibiting it, you are risking a severe accident."

She noted that when there are two skateboarders combined with the junk in front of stores, it makes it hard to get by without getting clipped.

"Maybe the parents can control it," she added.

Lauren Weaver said if kids can't skateboard on the sidewalk, where can they skateboard, if that's how they're going to travel.

Reporter Kevin Lynch can be reached at 330-674-5676 or klynch@the-daily-record.com.


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