By Liz Shepherd
WARSAW — The Warsaw Board of Public Works and Safety approved a street closure for the annual Patriot Day remembrance ceremony and discussed mobile merchant fees for the city during a meeting on Friday, Sept. 4.
Mike Cox, co-chair of the Kosciusko County 9/11 Memorial Remembrance Committee, was present at the meeting to request the closure of a portion of East Canal Street from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 11.
Cox said the ceremony will probably be shorter in comparison to previous years and will take place outside of the Center Lake Pavilion at the 9/11 memorial, weather permitting.
The event will start at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 11.
The board also approved a contract the Warsaw Parks Department presented for Quentin Flagg, who will be performing at Lucerne Park from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 11. Flagg’s previous free concert in Warsaw on Aug. 14 was canceled due to weather.
“With this act, I was approached by people in-person, I got phone calls, I got e-mails saying ‘Please bring him back,'” said Sheila Wieringa, Warsaw Parks Department recreation director.
In other business, Senior Assistant City Planner Justin Taylor presented merchant fee reduction requests on behalf of Cosmo Corporation and Drink Factory. The two vendors are both located out of Kosciusko County; however, Cosmo Corporation is located in the state of Indiana.
“We have an ordinance that requires anybody who is operating as a mobile merchant to register with a permit,” said Taylor. “The intention of this is to protect local businesses from being undercut by people just coming through town.”
For permits, Kosciusko County residents have to pay a one-year fee of $300. Out-of-county residents who live in the state pay a $1,000 yearly fee, while those out-of-state pay $3,000.
Cosmo Corporation and Drink Factory both requested their fees be reduced to $300.
“I remember back when we changed these fees, the big issue, there were furniture vendors coming from out-of-state and throwing a bunch of couches in front of the old Holiday Inn and our furniture stores were not happy with that,” said Warsaw Mayor Joe Thallemer. “The council approved these fees because they didn’t want out-of-state merchants that were not paying any taxes to have the advantage of being able to set up on a main road and compete against our local merchants.”
The board voted to deny Drink Factory’s request for an out-of-state reduction in fees and voted to reduce Cosmo Corporation’s fee from $1,000 to $500.
“I think we should mention our reasoning is as a result of the pandemic and a desire to encourage outdoor seating and delivery of food,” said Thallemer.
The board’s next meeting is at 11:15 a.m. Friday, Sept. 18.