MIDLAND PARKS AND RECREATION COMMISSION

SPECIAL MEETING OF AUGUST 26, 2003

MIDLAND CITY HALL CONFERENCE ROOM B

AMENDED MINUTES

 

 

MEMBERS PRESENT:           Lengerman, Donavan, Zimmer-Janeczko, Rothhaar, Peck

 

MEMBERS ABSENT: Lincoln, Robert, and Berthiaume

 

OTHERS PRESENT:               M. McGuire

 

The meeting was called order at 7:00 p.m. by Chairperson Bruce Peck.

 

Peck asked for a moment of silence in honor of Esther Gerstacker, a long time Commission Member who recently passed away.

 

Rothhaar moved Lengerman seconded that the minutes of the July 29, 2003 special meeting be accepted.

 

Ted Stokich delivered the attached presentation.

 

Bruce Peck thanked Stokich for presenting a quantitative analysis.

 

Rothhaar questioned the hours and Stokich clarified that the show closes at 6:00 pm on Saturday and 3:00 pm on Sunday.  Rothhaar asked why the organizers wished to return to Midland.  Stokich indicated that there is a saturation of gun shows in Birch Run, nearly one a month and the head count is approaching ½ of what they draw in Midland.  He indicated there is no differentiation between the Midland show and others held in Birch Run.

 

Don Hall represented the Visitor and Convention Bureau and indicated that the Gun Show and other events that draw people to Midland should be welcomed.

 

Commissioner Rothhaar asked for clarification of the lot near the Post Office.  Stokich indicated that the lot is a vacant area, which is served by a curb cut.  Donovan asked if the Public Schools had been contacted.  Stokich indicated the schools would not authorize parking.  Donovan asked if DART could be chartered and was told that was not possible under Federal Funding Guidelines.

 

 


Commissioner Peck asked if the organizers would consider shuttles and the organizers agreed.  Mike Lauerson of the Sportsman’s Club indicated that vendors will be transported by Hotel shuttles.

 

Commissioner Lengerman indicated that the lot owned by Matt Rapanos was for sale and asked what would happen if the lot were sold.  There was no response.  Lengerman also asked if background checks were required and was answered that handguns required a permit for which checks were done.

 

Commissioner Lengerman indicated that she had an issue with selling guns in Parks.

 

Lengerman asked if the sale of guns is allowed or disallowed by the City Charter.  She also asked if guns are allowed on school property.  McGuire indicated that the questions would be posed and the answers attached to the minutes.

 

Commissioner Peck asked McGuire if the dialogue with the organizer had been positive and this was confirmed.

 

Ann Hignite spoke and said she is not opposed to the Gun Show, just the site.  She indicated that she is a member of St. John’s Lutheran Church and that lot is full before church use.

 

The organizers indicated that the lot could be posted.

 

Hignite suggested that the Gun Show date be moved to June so other sites might be available, such as the Fairground.

 

Mike Klele, a Jefferson Ave. resident, pointed that there are several buildings with concrete floors at the fairgrounds.

 

Mike Larsen of the Sportsman’s Club pointed out that the facilities are inadequate.

 

Mike Klele indicated that the Fairgrounds hosted swap meets for motorcycles.  Klele asked if the date could be moved.

 

Stokich indicated that the date was based on other shows and the vendors preferred early April.

 

Klele concluded that the show was for money for the club.  He asked how this benefited residents of the neighborhood.  Klele indicated that the organizers had dealt with parking issues not traffic.

 

Sue Lyon, 2102 Jefferson asked how an unapproved lot will be used in April and what will happen to those that park in the streets.

 

Kele indicated that the charge of a parking ticket is not a deterrent.

 

Klele spoke of a traffic issue and the fact that George St. had recently been narrowed.

 

Klele asked Laursen how many he surveyed for his comments to City Council that people in the area did not have issues with the Gun Show.

 

Laursen and Lengerman disagreed on the discussion they had regarding the parking and neighborhood contact.

 

Lyon asked why people in the area directly affected were not surveyed.  She indicated that Laursen overstated the survey.

 

Leroy Laeder indicated that parking on both sides of George caused problems with emergency vehicles.

 

Laeder indicated that new lots are “pie in the sky” because people won’t park in them.

 

Chuck Hepinstall indicated that experience with gun shows is poor.  He is skeptical of arrangements.  Despite the effort, the club is inexperienced in implementing such a plan.  He expressed concern of communication with majority of users.  He questioned how quickly neighbors could expect relief if driveways are blocked.  A neighborhood is negatively affected, the people of the City have a police force over taxed and only few benefit.

 

Richard McCreadie, not anti-gun, not anti-business, was unhappy with poor maintenance, and mismanagement of facility.  Early on the facility was not used for retail sales, only exhibitions.

 

McCreadie cited 5.7 of the City Charter and indicated that it precludes sales of guns in Parks.

 

McCreadie encouraged that the gun show be placed in business areas.  McCreadie advised that the Commission did not have the authority to allow use of the arena for the purpose of the Gun Show.

 

Tom Peterson indicated that the Gun Show started in a gymnasium by Pine-River Long Rifleman.  He spoke of guns in Parks and referenced the use of guns in a City Park.

 

Don Hall indicated that it is becoming more apparent that this community is not welcoming outsiders.  He stated that the community should support groups who bring in visitors.  Leroy Laeder disagreed with Don Hall regarding citizen support for tourism.

 

Hall indicated that this should not be an issue of guns.

 

Mike Laursen representing the organizers indicated that it was unfortunate that some people are inconvenienced but that this is not unique to this area.  Each persons inconvenience is offset by general benefit.

 

Laursen indicated that shuttles would be used if necessary and that they had exceeded the City’s initial issues with the gun show.

 

Donovan indicated that he is a neighborhood watch coordinator on State St. and that there has been significant turnover in the neighborhood.

 

Commissioner Lengerman indicated that she thought answers to question of legality and availability of Rapanos lot were needed before a decision can be made.

 

Rothhaar indicated that he had been impressed with the effort of the organizers but was skeptical of the cooperation of the users.  He agreed that the community should embrace activity when possible.  He said that the community benefit must outweigh the inconvenience to the neighborhood and he does not believe this does.

 

Commissioner Zimmer-Janeczko asked if it could be reviewed annually.  She indicated that other neighborhoods have issues as well.

 

Donovan praised the effort.

 

Commissioner Lengerman indicated that the gun show becomes very hectic for the neighborhood.

 

Commissioner Peck indicated that organizers are far more responsive and indicated he supported giving them another chance.

 

Motion by Donovan, seconded by Zimmer-Janeczko that the Commission recommend to City Council that the Gun Show be held in 2004 provided that the City Attorney rules that is can be held in the Civic Arena.  Motion carried 3 – 2.

            In favor:            Donovan, Zimmer-Janeczko, Peck

            Opposed:         Lengerman, Rothhaar

 

Meeting adjourned at 9:10 p.m.

 

Respectfully Submitted,

 

 

 

Marty McGuire

 

 

NOTE:   The City Attorney has verbally advised that the Gun Show is permissible.  His written opinion will be forwarded as soon as it is available.