Several events and programs planned this summer in Oil City got the go-ahead Thursday from Oil City Council.
Susan Williams, president and CEO of the Venango Area Chamber of Commerce, updated council members on the chamber’s intentions for the Oil Heritage Festival, which is scheduled July 22-25.
“I would hate to see the summer without the Oil Heritage Festival. I come to ask your permission this year with not much more certainty than last year,” Williams said.
She also said the festival may look different due to challenges with getting permission from PennDOT to close down streets owned by the state.
“We will host the events we can host in the business district,” Williams said.
Councilman Ron Gustafson said “I know how much work it is to put on these festivals and events. I appreciate all you do.”
City manager Mark Schroyer said he has been working to line up a “fairly well-known band” to play the last evening of the festival in celebration of the city’s 150-year anniversary.
Schroyer said he has received “tentative confirmation” that the well-known band will appear at the festival, “pending working out the details”, but he is not yet allowed to reveal the band. All Schroyer would say is that the band is “something special” that he thinks people will appreciate.
Council members told Williams and the chamber to move forward with festival planning.
In other business, Kathy Bailey, the manager of the Oil City Main Street Program, requested permission to host Music in the Square concerts this summer in Town Square.
“We were able to hold them safely last year. I think people appreciated it,” Bailey said.
Council approved holding the concerts on June 10, July 8, July 21, Aug. 12 and Sept. 17.
Autism Stands was given approval to hold an Easter egg hunt for special needs children ages one to 10 at 1 p.m. Saturday, April 3, at Hasson Park.
And the panel also approved a request from the Oil City YWCA to hold its annual Justus summer playground program that provides various activities for children at the Land of Laughter (on Harriott Avenue), Hasson Park, East End and Innis Street playgrounds.
The program will run from 9 a.m. to noon Mondays though Fridays from June 14 to July 16 at the playgrounds, which will be staffed by two trained college students who will provide arts and crafts and other activities, according to a letter the YWCA submitted to the city.
Evening activities for families will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, the letter said.
COVID protocols such as temperature checks for the children upon arrival, frequent use of hand sanitizer and wiping down frequently touched surfaces with Clorox wipes will be in place at each playground, the letter said.
Funds will help city
In another matter, Schroyer said the $950,912 in federal funds Oil City will receive through the American Rescue Plan is good news for the city, which is looking for funding streams to replace water and sewer lines along a portion of East Second Street.
“This is good timing for us as we are moving ahead with the water and sewer project,” Schroyer said.
The estimated cost of the project is $1 million to $1.5 million.
Bailey told council about the Main Street Program’s newly updated business resource guide. She said COVID delayed the update to the guide that was first put out in 2015.
The new guide, which includes a checklist for opening a business in Oil City, was updated with input from city department heads, Bailey said.
The guide will be available on the Main Street website, oilcitymainstreet.org, and Bailey will also give copies to department heads at City Hall.