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Street musician agreement to continue

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At their Sept. 15 meeting, Village Council members agreed that the new Street Musician Agreement approved during the summer appears to have solved recent problems between downtown musicians and business owners, and that its use should continue.

“From what I’ve heard, it’s been working,” Council member Brian Housh said of the agreement.

When Council approved the new Street Musician Agreement at the end of July, it was presented as a pilot project to be revisited at a later date, and the Sept. 15 discussion was the first time Council reviewed the policy. The topic was discussion only.

The Street Musician Agreement, modeled after a Portland, Ore. document, is a self-regulating agreement that affects both musicians and business owners downtown. The agreement limits musicians to performing at a single location for an hour at a time, after which they’re asked to move to a different location or take an hour-long break, and also discourages the use of amplification. The agreement also stipulates that business owners and the public be respectful when approaching musicians. The agreement followed several months of increasing tension downtown after some business owners complained that the musicians’ noise level and lengthy performances were adversely affecting their businesses.

While the new agreement appears to have worked to diminish complaints, it’s also affected downtown ambience, according to Council President Karen Wintrow.

“The amount of downtown busking has diminished greatly” since the agreement went into effect, Wintrow said. “A lot of the regulars are not performing.”

In other Council business:

• Thursday, Oct. 23, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. has been set as the time for a community forum on policing. The event, which arose from community concerns around local police activities, is being organized by the Human Relations Commission, or HRC.

The event will go ahead despite last week’s resignation of Police Chief Anthony Pettiford, Housh said this week, although with a likely shift in focus to a discussion on local police department philosophy and what villagers seek in the police department. An HRC planning meeting for the event, which is open to the public, will take place this Saturday, Sept. 27, at 1 p.m. at the Bryan Center rooms A and B.

• Council unanimously approved a Request for Qualifications for Village government legal services. While Council has been satisfied with its use of the Dayton firm Coolidge Wall for legal services, it’s been nine years since the Village advertised for a solicitor, according to Wintrow.

• Council heard an update on skate park upgrades from Village Manager Patti Bates, who said she hopes to bring a Request for Proposals for the upgrades to Council’s next meeting. The changes include creating a skate park for younger children, along with a “Safety Town” to help teach children safety, in the currently little-used tennis courts.

• Council discussed a proposal from local artists Kaethi Seidl and Beth Holyoke to “dress up” 27 currently unused trash cans for use downtown, along the lines of the artistic can in front of Current Cuisine. The proposal was prompted by the need to replace many of the new metal trash cans currently downtown due to problems with the cans.

• Council is seeking five villagers to serve on the Charter Review Committee, which will form soon to review the Village charter. Interested persons should submit a letter of interest and résumé to Manager Bates or Council Clerk Judy Kintner.

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