BridgeFest gets city’s OK; final decision coming

Oil City Council gave its approval at a meeting Thursday to a variety of downtown public events, including the popular BridgeFest on the city’s Veterans Bridge.

A resolution was passed to allow for the BridgeFest event, set from 4 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 15, to be held and to temporarily close the span to vehicular traffic.

“We’re getting the permits and we have insurance,” said Kay Woods, a member of the Oil City Arts Council that sponsors the festival.

She noted that a final decision on whether to hold BridgeFest will depend on any further coronavirus-related restrictions. That decision will be made by mid-July, she told council.

The BridgeFest on Veterans Bridge debuted in 2018 and has featured live musical entertainment, arts, food vendors and more.

It comes one day after the Aug. 14 BridgeFest on the Center Street Bridge, a family-oriented event that began in 2017. The latter is sponsored by the city’s Main Street Program.

Council also approved two street closure requests Thursday.

The Oil City Elks Lodge was given the OK to hold a chicken barbecue July 22 during the city’s Oil Heritage Festival. It will be held on Sycamore Street, which will be closed from Elm to Seneca streets.

The barbecue will be open to the public.

The second request came from neighbors who reside on a one-block stretch of Wyllis Street to hold a block party July 25.

In other business Thursday, Sue Sanford, a resident of the Luther Place apartment complex, asked council to address the condition of a public walkway near the building.

Sanford said debris on the sidewalk makes it hard for residents who use walkers or wheelchairs to navigate the walkway.

A representative from Grace United Methodist Church asked the city to fix drainage problems in the parking area behind the church. Water collects in a corner of the lot and is causing damage to the church foundation.

City manager Mark Schroyer said the city met earlier with church representatives and the problem was identified as church roof drains tied into the catch basin in the parking area.

“The church was going to run drain lines out further (to a catch basin at the corner of West First and Central) … but the church hasn’t done anything,” said Schroyer, adding the city has given permission to the church to tie into the other catch basin.

Fire chief Mark Hicks told council the city firefighters raised about $10,000 during a one-day collection for the city’s July 3 fireworks display.

And council accepted the resignation of public works employee David Parsons, who is relocating outside the area.