Hilliard Northwest News

'Positive' meeting edges street fair controversy closer to compromise


Hilliard Civic Association members and city officials met Wednesday, Oct. 24, at the Hilliard Municipal Building to discuss the future location of the Old Hilliardfest Art and Street Fair.

Mayor Don Schonhardt hosted the roundtable meeting that included Ed Daniel and John Peters, the president and vice president of the Hilliard Civic Association, respectively, Police Chief Doug Francis, Law Director Pam Fox, Councilman Al Iosue and Council Clerk Lynne Fasone.

Schonhardt and Peters both called the meeting a "positive" exchange and a step toward an agreement that will keep the festival, entering its 28th year, on the streets of Old Hilliard, albeit in a different area.

In past years, Main Street was closed between North and Franklin streets, and Norwich Street was closed from Columbia to Wayne streets.

Following this year's street fair, Schonhardt directed Fox to write a letter to Peters indicating the civic association needed to secure an "off-street location" next year.

Members of the civic association attended the Sept. 10 City Council meeting, and Schonhardt said it was possible for the fair to remain on a street if a compromise with affected business owners could be reached and if the civic association adhered to rules concerning permits for street closures, including unanimous agreement among affected storefronts on Main Street.

Schonhardt said the lack of unanimous agreement was the reason for the letter.

At the Oct. 24 meeting, Schonhardt suggested that Main Street be closed for next year's street fair between Franklin and Norwich streets.

It is a smaller section of Main Street, but the city also offered to close Center Street from Columbia to Wayne streets, and also to allow use of city-owned parking lots and parcels along the west side of Center Street to its northern terminus at the entrance to the Makoy Center, 5462 Center St.

Norwich Street would not be closed.

"I think it's a great compromise," Iosue said Oct. 29, during a recess between meetings of the committees of Hilliard City Council.

Councilman Nathan Painter said the altered road closures would improve the flow of traffic.

Schonhardt said the road closures still would allow access to Main Street businesses that had expressed concern about access to their storefronts and would provide an improved detour route for motorists passing through Old Hilliard on festival day, the second Saturday of September.

Peters said all members of the Hilliard Civic Association will discuss the proposal at a meeting yet to be scheduled, but that likely would occur within the next two weeks. Then the civic association officers would seek another meeting with the administration.

"But I think it was a positive meeting ... and a means to keep the fair on the street where it belongs," Peters said.