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September 11, 2013

Park Board addressing noise problem

Festivals moved to Foster Park report record attendance.

The success of moving festivals from downtown Kokomo to Foster Park this year has created some unanticipated problems. Randy Morris, superintendent of the Parks & Recreation Department, told the city's park board Tuesday some problems have emerged with staging events in Foster Park.One of the problems: Area residents are complaining about the noise from bands playing music past 11 p.m.

“We’re looking at a hard stop to the loud music,” Morris said. “We’re looking at 10:30 p.m.”Organizers in London, England pulled the plug on a Paul McCartney and Bruce Springsteen concert in July when the show went over the allotted time. The city council has tightened rules for playing in London's famed Hyde Park, according to a CNN account of the event, after area residents complained about the noise.

“Changing the time to stop the music will require either an early start or shortening the events,” Morris said. “It’s a bad problem to have.”Morris said loud music past 10:30 p.m. is not acceptable.Other concerns include safety, handicapped-accessible parking and parking in general.“There is a barrage of different problems,” Morris said. “It is a result of having successful events.”Morris recommended people planning to conduct events at park department facilities should be required to attend park board meetings to answer any questions the board may have.Dan Shockley, president of the park board, liked the idea.“We want a commitment from people that it will be a quality event,” Morris added.Morris encouraged board members to contact him about their concerns and recommendations on guidelines for staging events in the city.

Brett Daniels, an organizer of events at Foster Park, said 60,000 people attended the three major events at Foster Park. He said the Taste of Kokomo, Haynes-Apperson Festival and Ribfest raised $30,000 for local nonprofit agencies.“It was record attendance and profit,” Daniels said.The board approved the following events for 2014 at the Foster Park Arts Pavilion: June 6 and 7 or June 13 and 14, Ribfest and a possible other event; June 20 through 22nd, Kingdom Come Festival; June 28, Kokomo Symphony; July 3 to 5, Haynes-Apperson Festival; July 19, community concert; July 26, Cyclefest; Aug. 2 and 3, Weberfest; Aug. 9, Rhumfest; Aug. 16, Taste of Kokomo; Aug. 23, community concert.

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