The Streator City Council on Wednesday denied a request to change its city ordinance to allow direct alcohol sales in City Park, and also nixed an admission charge for the concert proposed at Plumb Pavilion.
Co-organizers Toni Pettit and Cinda Bond of Jammin’ at the Clock summer concert series requested the City Council waive the ordinances to bring a touring Queen tribute band next Labor Day weekend to the Plumb Pavilion stage.
The council took no action Wednesday, essentially not allowing the concert proposal as it is to move forward.
To cover the $6,000 to $7,000 cost of the band, Pettit said an admission fee would be charged at the concert — with fencing set up to keep people out who don’t pay. She also said direct alcohol sales, or beverage sales, would be requested to generate funds for a non-profit organization.
Pettit said the inspiration for the concert idea came from people who attend Jammin at the Clock and ask why more performances are not scheduled for Plumb Pavilion. Jammin’ at the Clock is conducted at Heritage Park.
City Council member Tara Bedei said Plumb Pavilion donors gave money for the band shelter under the assumption performances would be free and open to the public.
“I don’t want to go back on our promise to those donors,” said Bedei, who served Wednesday as mayor pro tem.
Bedei also noted indirect alcohol sales are allowed in the park, such as what occurs during the homebrew tasting event at Pluto Fest where a limited number of tickets are purchased and exchanged for samples, but bottles, cans or glasses of alcohol cannot be sold separately in the park.
Mayor Jimmie Lansford, who attended the meeting via teleconference, suggested the organizers seek a different location, sharing Bedei’s beliefs and adding the carnival was moved out of the park and into the streets along its perimeter to limit damage to the grass and trees.
Bedei said money can be generated through fundraising and donations, rather than charging an admission. She said Streator Tourism is planning on scheduling more musical performances next summer in the park and said the committee will give money to bring live acts to the city.
“We have a giving community,” she said.
Council member Matt McMullen said charging an admission fee was his hang up, and council member Timothy Geary added he believes events at the park should be free and was concerned about alcohol sales. McMullen said he would be open to hearing new proposals for a performance that doesn’t charge an entry fee.
Pettit said after the meeting she was disappointed in the council’s decision. She said the concert would draw 1,500 to 2,000 people to the community.
“The vision was to have the concert to showcase the park and our beautiful pavilion,” Pettit said.
Bond said after the meeting finding an alternative venue becomes challenging, because organizers would need to book the band soon.
“Without a venue and no money to pay them, we can’t book them,” Pettit said.
Three other community members spoke in favor of bringing the concert to Plumb Pavilion, but Joe Richard, an organizer of Streator’s Fourth of July celebration and Light Up Streator, said he had no problem with the concert idea, but he had an issue with them seeking City Park as the venue. The Fourth of July celebration, which draws larger musical acts to Streator, takes place at Northpoint Plaza.