Archive for Thursday, April 16, 2009

Carnival requests De Soto Days move to Riverfront

April 16, 2009

De Soto Riverfest Park has won over another doubter.

When John Evans of the Evan Midland Games brought his carnival to De Soto Days last Labor Day Weekend, he visited the new park and came away unimpressed.

That weekend, Evans told The De Soto Explorer he was concerned the area designated for the carnival was too small and the ground might be too soft for his rides.

The park was built with the idea it would be the home of the community festival and that the site will give the festival a chance to grow.

Evans visited before the park was finished and the grass sprouted. This month Evans visited the park again at the urging of De Soto Days Festival Committee Chairman Raheema Sampson. This time, Evans saw the park with completed sidewalks, drives, stage and grass.

After the tour, Evans expressed a desire to move his carnival to the site and set up on the hard surface near the boat ramp.

With that, the De Soto Days Committee is asking the city to move the festival, which will be Sept. 3 through 5, to Riverfest Park.

Jay Garvin, city parks and recreation director, supports the proposed move because setting the carnival up at Miller Park has the potential to harm the grass while soccer fields there are still in use.

City Administrator Pat Guilfoyle said the city’s position was to support the festival committee’s recommendation, wherever it wanted to have the festival. The committee would have to present details of its plans for the festival before it received council approval, he said.

When the possibility of moving the festival was brought up at the April 2 De Soto City Council meeting, Bob Garrett pointed out the possible danger to children walking or bicycling to the festival on Ottawa Street, which lacks sidewalks and street lighting.

Mayor Dave Anderson conceded those were legitimate concerns and said that they would have to be addressed.

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