Meetings help Onaway City Commission and Onaway Area Chamber in cooperation efforts

by Angie Asam-Staff Writer

The Onaway City Commission and the Onaway Area Chamber of Commerce have each held meetings recently that have led to a better understanding of each organization. The chamber held a meeting Jan. 28 at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post. That meeting helped clarify some issues between the entities. Monday the city commission met and painted a clearer picture on some of the things that the entities have been disagreeing about.

The city approved a request from the chamber to use Maxon Field on Aug. 22-23 to bring in the Vietnam Memorial Traveling Wall and allowing the individuals bringing the wall to town to camp in a motor home on Maxon Field overnight. They also approved the chamber using Chandler Park on Aug. 23 to hold a car show.

Next on the agenda the city clarified things with the fireworks show after the two entities were able to sort out details of location and insurance. The city will again insure the show, which will remain on  Horrock’s Field along M-211 while the chamber will contribute money from fundraisers to the show.

“The city is the only entity that can adequately and affordably insure the fireworks show as long as members of the Onaway Area Fire Department are going to conduct the show. As I said at the previous city commission meeting and again at the chamber meeting, as long as the city is the insurer of the event, the fireworks will be shot off at the safest location available to the city for the event. At this time that is the 300-acre field along M-211 owned by the Horrocks family, who will continue to allow the show on their property as long as the city remains the party responsible for the show,” said city manager Joe Hefele.

Hefele said that by the end of the chamber meeting Jan. 28 he felt that everyone was on the same page with the issue.

In discussing other chamber events planned for 2014 the manager and commissioners said that, while they support the chamber’s pursuit to conduct a circus in town, the event cannot take place on Maxon Field. It was again recommended that the chamber consider the Presque Isle County Development Commission property along M-211, though permission from Presque Isle County would be needed for that site. It also was made clear that the city will not consider allowing Maxon Field to be used for a beer tent during the Fourth of July activities unless the Chamber gets adequate liquor liability insurance coverage, with the city attorney to provide guidance to the commission as to an adequate liability amount.

In regard to the Chandler Park tree lighting the city will again be responsible for the event in 2014, which will allow the chamber to focus on other events they have planned. The money raised will still benefit the 2015 fireworks show.