Archive for Thursday, April 6, 2006

June will be jumping with many events

April 6, 2006

June is going to be a busy month in Baldwin City and the city council gave its blessing to two events which will close streets in and around downtown on consecutive weeks.

First approval was for the third-annual Planes, Trains and Automobiles event, which is set for June 17 on Father's Day weekend. High Street from Fifth to Ninth streets will be blocked from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. The second nod went to the fourth annual Baldwin City Stage Race, which will close a four block area of streets for the bikes to race on June 24.

Both events are the same as last year. Planes, Trains and Automobiles features the Midland Railway train in west Baldwin, planes at the Vinland airport and a vintage car and motorcycle show downtown. Bands will also play on a stage located in the 700 block of High.

"It's pretty much the same as it was last year and we didn't have any problems," said Rita Madl, organizer of Planes, Trains and Automobiles. "We're doing it in cooperation with downtown businesses to create traffic from out of town."

The only concern expressed by the council was that it would block the fire department's front door access to High Street.

"We've talked to the fire department," said Stan Vickers, another organizer of the event. "The fire trucks can go out the back way."

Madl told the council the Father's Day-based event will include an essay contest about "why dad is the best" and that it's become a day like no other.

"This is so unique," said Madl. "It's a vintage motorcycle show. Of course, the railroad will be doing free rides for dads. It's just a real exciting time."

"We're just taking a step back in time with the transportation," said Vickers, who heads up the motorcycle portion of the event.

Madl also said the group realizes that the scheduled downtown project, where sidewalks will be replaced and other improvements made, could impact the day and they will be flexible on where they'll set up in the area.

"We think this is a great thing to bring people downtown," she said. "We've very open to change."

The approval for the bike race on June 24 didn't come without some legwork by organizer Tony Stewart. At the council's last meeting, the council directed City Administrator Jeff Dingman to have Stewart canvass the area to be closed to get approval from residents. The race closes High Street from Ninth to 10th, Eighth Street from High to Jersey, Jersey from Eighth to 10th and 10th from Jersey to High. That's where the race is conducted. Also closed between High and Jersey is Indiana Street.

"I actually had the opportunity to go out Sunday and was to talk to 20 residents," said Stewart. "Nineteen were in favor. One was not. We did have a couple people concerned on Indiana Street after there was a fire there recently about emergency vehicles being able to get in there.

"We assured them that wouldn't be a problem," he said.

The streets will be closed roughly between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. for the races. Other parts of the race include county roads during the two-day event.

The council approved both requests unanimously.

"I think you've done a good job," Cleavinger said to Stewart. "You've gone the extra mile. Just like Planes, Trains and Automobiles, it's a great event that brings people here."

But, that's certainly not all that's going on in June. The annual Thomas the Tank Engine stay at the Midland Railway. Thomas will be here June 2-4 and June 9-11. The Citywide Garage Sale is June 3-4. Relay for Life is scheduled for June 17. And, if that's all not enough, it was announced at Monday's meeting the annual Citywide Cleanup will be June 17.

"We've got a busy June," said Council Member Tony Brown.

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