Ishpeming City Council says no to City Fest

Council heard comments from several members of the public on the issue
Ishpeming City council hears public comment
Ishpeming City council hears public comment(WLUC-TV6)
Published: Aug. 12, 2020 at 6:18 PM EDT
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ISHPEMING, Mich. (WLUC) - Update: The Ishpeming City Council has reversed its decision and will not allow City Fest to take place at the Al Quaal Recreation Area.

Ishpeming Resident, Kathleen Bengtson Barabe one of the many members of the public voicing their opinion on whether UP CityFest should happen at the Al Quaal Recreation Area this Friday and Saturday August 14th and 15th.

“I would personally like to see the council postpone this until we have better evidence. I would love to see UP CityFest put on a virtual conference. I am not against City Fest. I just feel that any event at this time is premature,” Bengtson Barabe declared.

City Council heard from several members of the public, some opposed and some in favor of the festival. Moments before the session, Ishpeming City Manager, Craig Cugini said he was unsure how City Council might proceed.

“We’ve already made an agreement to lease this space to an outdoor concert group. They have their permit in hand. And so how they’re going to address that is up for discussion. I have no idea how they’re going to go with this,” Cugini announced.

Cugini said the UP CityFest remains in accordance with Governor Whitmer’s latest executive order.

"We have three time the space necessary to allow 500 people. So we're way under what our capacity would be allowed and we're in accordance with the executive order. We've also added the requirements of a fence to control who gets in," Cugini stated.

The event’s organizer, Matthew Songer says his plan to mitigate COVID-19 exceeds Governor Whitmer’s requirements.

“We check people in, they check their temperature. We’ve also put social distancing signs out. We require them to wear a mask even though it’s outside. We’re keeping a record of everybody that shows in case somebody had it and found out later, we know immediately how to contact everybody,” Songer asserted.

Volunteers and performers will also wear a mask were appropriate, according to Songer. Songer says this entire event is designed to give people hope, during a time when positive news is hard to come by.

“There are people who are afraid and anxious and even may oppose this. This is for them. We are giving a message of hope so they can live without fear and anxiety from anything, coronavirus, lack of job and many other things,” Songer said.

Members of the public in attendance Wednesday tell TV6, the Ishpeming City Council voted to rescind the permit for UP CityFest.

TV6 has reached out to Ishpeming City Council for official results of the meeting. We will report that information as soon as we have official word from City Council member.

Copyright 2020 WLUC. All rights reserved.

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