Mount Carmel forms Block Party Committee for July 7 event

The event may be four months away, but the Mount Carmel Board of Mayor and Aldermen began the planning for this year’s Block Party with the formation Tuesday of a new Block Party Committee.

The celebration is scheduled for July 7 from 4-10 p.m.

For nearly 30 years, the block party was organized by a committee led mainly by members of the local Merchants Association.

In latter years, participation in the Merchants Association dwindled significantly until it was all but extinct by the time the block party was discontinued in 2015.

Last year, the event was revived in part due to the interest of Horizon Credit Union, which was the main sponsor.

Alderman Diane Adams told the BMA Tuesday she hopes a reformation of the Block Party Committee will inspire local business owners and operators to reactivate the Merchants Association.

Adams said the Merchants Association is needed not only to organize the block party, but to assist in local economic development in general.

For now, however, the Block Party Committee, as approved by the BMA, will consist of members of the municipal Parks Committee as well as the police chief, fire chief, public works director, wastewater plant manager, city manager and one alderman.

Mayor Chris Jones appointed Adams to fill that slot.

Adams presented the board with a report on the financial data from the 2017 block party as well as a report on the input she received from many residents about what they would like to see in this year’s event.

The block party was revived in 2017 after being on hiatus for two years due to a lack of sponsorship and volunteers to organize it.

As far as revenue, the food vendor space rental brought in $2,000, concessions space rental brought in $350, and donations from businesses brought in $6,080 (not including Horizon Credit Union’s sponsorship) for a total of $8,430.

On the expenditure side, entertainment costs including car show plaques, the bouncy house, T-shirts, sound for the stage, musical acts, and fireworks cost a total of $12,850; and employee wages, Portalets and street cleaning cost $7,982.

Aside from re-establishing the Block Party Committee, Adams proposed:

1. Setting up the Kids Zone in a more accessible area and including a petting zoo, bouncy house, children’s face painting and possibly a pet adoption area courtesy of the animal shelter.

2. Utilizing the new stage for karaoke, bluegrass and gospel singing, and reserving the main stage for larger bands. It’s also been suggested that the bands from 2017 return this year.

3. Inviting the same food trucks as last year, and if possible, inviting two more.

4. The city cover the same costs as 2017, including the wages and benefits for city employees working the event, Portalet rentals and street cleaning.

In other business Tuesday, the BMA:

* Approved the first reading of an ordinance rezoning property at the corner of Main Street and Belmont Avenue from MX 1 (mixed use) to MX-2, which allows property to be used for residential purposes that are currently prohibited.

* Agreed to delay installation of the emergency sirens and used the $50,000 set aside for that project to purchase equipment for the fire department that is needed to maintain the town’s low ISO (fire insurance premium) rating. The board agreed to consider including an allocation for the siren installation project in the 2018-19 budget.