By KEVIN CORVO Friday September 7, 2012 7:46 PM Download a PDF version of this article.
The 27th annual Old Hilliardfest Art and Street Fair on Sept. 8 in Hilliard could be the last.
The city of Hilliard on Sept. 5 informed organizers it will no longer issue a permit for the closure of roads necessary for the event.
In a letter to John Peters, the chairman of Old Hilliardfest, Hilliard Law Director Pam Fox wrote: “Because of the issues that the administration has encountered this year and in years past with the closure of Main Street, the city’s primary north-south roadway, from early morning to late evening, the decision has been made to require that Old Hilliardfest be moved from the street beginning next year.”
Fox told Peters that the permit for this year’s event was issued “despite the failure of Hilliardfest organizers to obtain consent from all the property owners affected by the street closures, in accordance with the (police department’s) rules; however, at this late date, the city of Hilliard administration has no intention of interrupting this year’s event.”
The letter advises organizers that planning for next year’s event “will have to include an off-street location.”
“There are many successful events that take place around central Ohio that do not involve street closures and we are confident that you will locate a convenient site,” Fox wrote. “The city recognizes the history of the Old Hilliardfest and wishes the success of the event to continue. However … the safety and welfare of the residents and visitors to the city governs our decision to keep (Main Street) open.”
Ed Daniel, an organizer of the event for most of its history, informed other organizers of the event late Sept. 6.
Jamie Hevener, co-manager of Old Hilliardfest, said Sept. 7 she was not sure if the event will be staged next year.
“Right now, we don't know if there will ever be an Old Hilliardfest again, which was a signature event (and was a) responsible component for making our city win Best Hometown of Ohio,” said Hevener, adding that organizers hope that its history and public support for the event might cause the city administration to reconsider.
Hilliard Police Chief Doug Francis first mentioned the issue Aug. 27 at a City Council committee meeting.
He said the city could encounter problems related to a resident who had not agreed to the closure of the Main Street. He said the city was working on providing alternate access for the resident.