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Maybe next year: City declines parade move

Football parents ask for return downtown

SOLON– The City of Solon reluctantly rained on hopes to relocate the Solon High School Homecoming Parade back downtown later this month.
The request, presented at a Sept. 7 city council meeting by members of the Solon Football Club, came too late to deal with the logistics of closing Main Street, Mayor Steve Stange said.
The parade, set for 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 21, was before the council as a consent agenda item, but football parents were seeking to modify the event application and revert the route to its previous path.
“I don’t think it’s a bad idea, but I don’t think you can do it in this short a time,” Stange said to open the discussion. “We have some things we would have to address.”
Law enforcement would have to be notified and the city would have to consult with local businesses, he said.
Things have changed downtown since the parade ended the tradition of concluding at the bandstand in City Park, he added.
“In the past, before it (the parade) was moved, it wasn’t angled parking, it was parallel parking. It was a lot wider,” Stange said.
When council member Steve Duncan questioned whether or not the Highway 1 traffic signal would be under construction at the time, City Administrator Cami Rasmussen said a longer mast for the signal was on order.
“We’re still kind of waiting,” Rasmussen said. “That’s what, two weeks away? It’s a possibility.”
She had discussed the possible parade change with Public Works Director Scott Kleppe, and he had concerns, she reported.
“The logistics of shutting down that street at that time of day is really challenging,” she said. “Usually, we shut it down a day-and-a-half and we’re giving people notice.”
Stange suggested other options for bringing it back to the bandstand, perhaps bringing the route down Dubuque Street instead. But he also expressed concern about the impact of the street closure on Main Street eateries.
“Our goal in wanting it to end up uptown is to drive that business back up there,” said Football Club representative Carolin Walker. Since the parade moved to Spartan Stadium, revenues for the Legion Auxiliary’s Scholarship Spaghetti Supper, held annually in conjunction with the parade, have declined, she said.
“There used to be a line out the door,” she said. “A lot of people don’t go uptown because it ends in the stadium.”
Both Rasmussen and Stange supported the idea, but indicated the city would be pressed to come up with a plan.
“The dynamics have changed so much from what it was,” Stange said.
“It’s a lot to think about,” Rasmussen added.
“I think it’s a great idea for next year,” Stange said. “I think we need to work on it.”
Council members agreed.
“Shutting down Main Street is quite a project,” council member Mark Prentice commented.
“You know me, I like the old ways,” council member Ron Herdliska said. “But I think you’re trying to go too fast now. It’s going to take some time to figure out the logistics.”
Stange suggested the parents reach out to the school district to plan for next year, prompting Duncan to inquire whether the district was on board with the plan.
Walker said the school was supportive of the idea, as were Head Football Coach Kevin Miller, the members of the student council and Activities Director Zach Wigle.
Stange suggested the parents work with the district to come up with an alternative “that will make everybody happy.”