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LH council tables use request for Freedom Fest event at amphitheater

LOCK HAVEN – Lock Haven City Council tabled a request Monday night for use of the J. Doyle Corman Amphitheater made by the Trump Victory Organization until their Sept. 14 meeting.

The request came Monday afternoon and was added to the agenda at the last minute and did not include a COVID-19 safety plan or proof of liability insurance, City Manager Gregory Wilson said.

The city has required every organization that requests use of city property submit a virus safety plan.

The Freedom Fest Veterans event would be held on Sept. 19 from 2 to 6 p.m., Wilson said.

He noted that up to 250 people – the maximum number of those allowed to gather outdoors under the state Department of Health guidelines – could be expected at the event.

Councilman Douglas Byerly moved to approve the request but the motion died due to lack of a second. Many members of council voiced their concerns with the lack of documentation presented to them.

“I have no problem approving this if we have the safety plan and proof of insurance,” Councilman William “Bill” Mincer said.

Mincer asked if the request could be pushed to council’s first meeting in September. Due to the Labor Day holiday on Sept. 7, council won’t meet until the following Monday, Sept. 14.

“You have the opportunity to approve it but in the interim they’ll have advertised for it,” Wilson said.

Councilmen Richard “Rick” Conklin and Steve Stevenson and Mayor Joel Long all stated the city does not want to prevent the event from happening but proper documentation needs to be filed before approval.

Conklin motioned to table the request until council’s next meeting which was seconded by Byerly.

“Please understand that it was a last minute request with no documentation, no COVID plan… 250 people when they reach that max they have to say ‘hey hold it’ and they have to spread out like we do at the concerts,” Stevenson said.

“There’s a lot of things they have to go through… they have to give us written guarantees so we feel comfortable to allow them to use the amphitheater,” he continued. “We should take every group seriously that wants to use city property but they just need to follow the rules and we’ll deal with it in the next meeting.”

Long added that the required forms are necessary due to liabilities.

“We have to cover the city’s liability or we could be in trouble if things aren’t handled properly… we just want to make sure that’s going to be in place,” he said.

Conklin’s motion was approved unanimously by all members of council.

More information from Monday night’s council meeting will be available in a later edition of The Express.

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