By Megan Kelley
LAKE ORION — During its meeting on Monday, the Lake Orion Village Council approved seven of the eight event applications on their agenda, with all but the Lake Orion Lions Club Jubilee getting the green light.
That event was pulled from approval until village and township officials could meet and discuss concerns the fire department has with the event.
Events that were approved were:
The Lake Orion Downtown Cornhole League 2023: The event/fundraiser by the American Legion will run from June 1 to Aug. 24 from 7-9 p.m. every Thursday night.
Orion Veteran’s Memorial Day Race: The 5k event is May 9 at 9 a.m. starting at Fire Station 1 on Anderson Street and run over the Paint Creek Trail.
Memorial Day Parade: The parade, sponsored by the American Legion, is May 29 and goes from Blanche Sims Elementary, down to Flint Street, up Broadway Street and down Elizabeth Street ending at the Ehman Center.
Dragon on the Lake 2023: Dragon on the Lake is from Aug. 25 to 28 and will consist of the closures of parking lots three and four and the closure of Broadway Street from Front Street to Shadbolt Street and Flint Street from Lapeer Street to Anderson Street.
Lake Orion Police Department – Golling Car Show: The annual Golling Car Show is from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. July 29. Street closures include Broadway from M-24 to Shadbolt, Flint St. from Broadway to Anderson and Anderson to Front St.
Brave the Wave: Brave the Wave is from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Aug. 5 at Green’s Park.
Children’s Easter Egg Hunt: The Easter Egg Hunt is from 10-11:30 a.m. on April 8 in Children’s Park.
As for the Jubilee, despite the Lion’s Club having their application in, there has been a reoccurring issue with the event, one that has been raised in the past by former Fire Chief Rob Duke and the Orion Township fire marshall.
The issue stems from the location of Fire Station 1 and the street closures necessary to hold the Jubilee in downtown.
Two years ago, all stations in Orion Township, including Fire Station 1 in the Village of Lake Orion, switched to Advanced Life Support (ALS) to better support the health, safety and well being of the residents. Because of this, it is vital that the fire station have a clear route to any calls that could occur, fire officials have said in past meetings.
Fire Station 1 is tucked down Anderson Street, right by the Orion Art Center and adjacent to Children’s Park.
This means that the closure of Anderson Street is not conducive to carrying out the expected duties of the fire department because they’re unable to get out of the fire station parking lot and through village streets quickly if there were an emergency to occur.
For some time now, the fire department has been attempting to have a meeting regarding the issue but that meeting has yet to take place.
Because of this, village council President Jerry Narsh moved to pull the item from the agenda and move it to after this meeting can take place.
During public comment, Orion Township Supervisor Chris Barnett spoke stating that the fire department has been asking the village to have a meeting on the subject since last May but their calls have been continually ignored.
“We’ve been asking for a meeting so thank you for removing this from the agenda. There are eight event items on your agenda tonight, seven of them have letters of recommendation for approval – including street closures – from the fire department. One has a recommendation for denial,” Barnett said, referring to the Jubilee.
Barnett also referenced statements that have occurred in the past regarding the issue that the village did not need approval from the fire department, saying that that is a slippery slope and that the law is not on the village’s side in that.
Narsh clarified that village Manager Darwin McClary was not in his position when these requests were initially made last year but that since he has become aware, there have been attempts to set up a meeting but not everyone was available for the dates that were suggested.
Councilmember Sarah Luchsinger was a vocal proponent for allowing council members to be at the upcoming meeting. Specifically citing her previously-raised concerns about potential liability issues.
Should the meeting be open to council members, the meeting would likely adhere to the Open Meetings Act and be open to the public.
The council voted unanimously to postpone the approval of the Jubilee until after a meeting could be had with the fire department.
By Megan Kelley