EUREKA SPRINGS -- Parks Commission reconsidered its recommendation to council to vacate a portion of Vine Street at their June 18 meeting. Parks rescinded a previous motion to recommend vacating the section of Vine Street already encroached upon by the building formerly known as Cafe Santa Fe.
Instead, director Bruce Levine said he recommends that Parks support vacating all of that part of Vine Street in return for establishing an easement for a pedestrian trail. The trail would begin at Mill Hollow Road and go as far as Section Street, and it would cross five private properties, including Levine's.
Kristi Kendrick spoke on behalf of Brad Hill, who lives next door to the property, and said Hill and all property owners involved except for Cornerstone Bank, which owns the old Santa Fe property, have approved of the new plan.
Discussion turned to whether or not a proper survey should be done of the area to be designated for the pedestrian trail and who should incur the cost. Levine said he thought a survey was not necessary. He also said he thought he and the other landowners should not have to also pay for a survey since they were donating land for the trail.
Commissioner Daniel Jackson adamantly maintained that without a doubt there should be a survey and the property owners should pay.
Commissioner Draxie Rogers disagreed. She said it was not fair to ask property owners to pay for a survey after already giving up land for the easement. Jackson insisted it was only right that the property owners pay.
Chair Bill Featherstone said he saw all the owners in agreement and he could see the predicament Levine was in, being involved on both sides of the issue.
Levine spoke up again to point out that the properties involved all have accurate surveys, so the easement could be easily described. Featherstone suggested that Kendrick could provide a legal description for the easement, and a survey would not be needed.
Commissioner Betsy Rodier agreed at least the legal description would help to define the easement so there would be no problems in the future.
Parks voted unanimously to approve the motion to vacate all of Vine Street subject to description of the easement and the approval of the fire department, Public Works, the gas company and police department.
Karen FitzPatrick spoke up for the EurekaPalooza Music Festival and Trail Race, a fundraiser for Clear Spring School scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 22. The event will be held at Lake Leatherwood City Park.
FitzPatrick said last year attendance doubled, and this year their goal is to raise $20,000. One way they hope to augment their proceeds is by having a beer garden.
Jackson said he had problems with beer at an event with so many kids in attendance. "Are people going to get drunk?" he asked
FitzPatrick replied that a beer garden means the patrons drink their beer in that location only, and security is there to check.
Featherstone added that beer is sold at Naturals ballgames and many, many other family events.
FitzPatrick also said that they are not charging admission this year in hopes that more people attend. They are expanding marketing and they are featuring events which attract a variety of people. There will be two stages, one just for acoustic music and the big stage for the amplified acts, and they are having an under-21 talent showcase to give local talent a chance to perform in front of larger audiences.
She said they are adding EurekaPieLooza, a cook-off for local restaurants to show off their best pies.
Featherstone asked FitzPatrick to appear at the July 16 meeting so they could complete the arrangements.
* Featherstone reported that the Springs Celebration went very well, and the commission extends its thanks to all those who organized it and made it happen. He mentioned Paula Koch in particular for her over and above contribution to organizing and preparing for the event, which he called a tribute to the reason Eureka Springs was built.
Rogers added that the event was organized like it had been running for years.
* Levine announced the new rock stairs at Lake Leatherwood Park turned out beautifully. They were created as an Eagle Scout project by Keaton Boardman, 16-year old Eureka Springs Boy Scout, along with help from volunteers.
* Levine also credited Will LePage for offering great ideas for changes at Lake Leatherwood Park which will make people feel they are coming into a special place.
Next workshop will be Tuesday, July 6, at 6 p.m. at Harmon Park, and topics will include issues at Lake Leatherwood Park.
Next regular meeting will be Monday, July 16, at 6 p.m.