Council Nixes Plan to Close Neighborhood Streets for Unicycle Race

Organizers of the event failed to poll residents of the neighborhood, according to city officials.

City Council denied the Unicycling Society of America’s request to use neighborhood streets for a unicycle race Wednesday afternoon.

The is being held at Saline Middle School Tuesday-Saturday. The society applied to the city to close Watson road and partially close Chandler Street and Nichols Drive from 3-5 p.m. Wednesday for a race called the “criterium,” which is typically held on city streets.

Council member Brian Marl moved to deny the request. The request was denied by a 6-0 vote. The vote does not impact other unicycling events held at the middle school.

City manager Todd Campbell said city staff had concerns about the impact the race might have on neighborhoods.

 “The concern is that this is a neighborhood. Organizers should have gone to door-to-door in the neighborhood ahead of time to make sure residents approved,” Campbell said. “This is a different animal than a downtown festival. This is in the middle of a residential neighborhood.”

Council member David Rhoads said he didn’t want to flatly deny the request and asked if council could approve the request contingent upon getting neighborhood consent.
“This race has happened before and it was well-received by residents,” Rhoads said.

Clerk Dianne Hill said event organizers failed to apply for the permit to use the city streets within the 45-day window the city requires. Hill said she called and emailed organizers to inform them they needed to poll neighborhood residents.

“The only reply we received was that they didn’t think they would have the time to get the needed signatures,” Hill said.

Hill said the group also failed to provide a certificate of liability insurance needed to close the street.

Mayor Pro Tem Dean Girbach, running the meeting the absence of Mayor Gretchen Driskell, said he thought it was too late to spring this event on the neighborhood.

“It’s an inconvenience for people, who between 3 and 5 p.m. are coming home with their kids,” he said.

Hill suggested that organizers could have the event in the parking lots or on the streets on the Saline Middle School campus.

For more North American Unicycle Conference and Championship,


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