City council approves concert on Pageant Hill
Published: Thursday, October 17th, 2013
Several years after a proposal by a local club to have a series of concerts on Pageant Hill was rejected, the Custer City Council gave a thumbs up to the use of Pageant Hill for just that purpose at its Oct. 7 meeting. However, unlike the proposal pitched by the “Breakfast Club” several years ago, this concert will be a one-time event, for now.
The council voted animously to allow the use of the hill for a concert to be held Saturday, July 5, after listening to a proposal about a possible concert by local pastor and music enthusiast Van Arp. Arp presented each member of the council with an outline of the steps that would need to be taken to bring a concert here. Arp figured bringing a name act to Pageant Hill would cost around $20,000, which he said would be raised through donations, sponsorships, fundraisers and ticket sales.
“You Should See the Stars from Here,” Arp’s name for the would-be event, would feature a classic rock headliner act at an approximate cost of $9,000 to $12,000, and would run from 6-9 p.m. Local artists would open for the headlining act and tickets would be priced in the $10 range, with the hope of selling at least 1,000 tickets.
Arp laid out several reasons the concert would be a positive for Custer, including bringing the only national act to the Southern Hills during the summer and possibly initiating another destination weekend for the future if the concert is well received.
Arp pitched the idea to the city’s parks and rec committee, which supported the project, as well as the Custer Area Arts Council, which said it would sponsor the event. In addition, the Custer Area Chamber of Commerce has thrown its support behind the event, offering to cover it under its insurance.
Arp said the reason for having the concert during the July 4 weekend is to have the traffic already in town possibly attend the event. Ultimately, he would like to have the concert be an annual, stand-alone event that is free.
Budweiser has offered to sell alcohol at the event if the city desires, Arp said, and would provide portable coolers, signage and wrist bands to designate those who are over 21 years old. Arp said food vendors could also be offered, either through local businesses or vendors already in town for the Old Time Country Fourth celebration.
When the Breakfast Club pitched the idea years ago, those in the Pageant Hill area came out in force to oppose the concerts, saying they didn’t want the noise or parking headaches associated with the concert. Arp said he believed the noise concerns would be minimal, pointing out that the event would last less time than the fireworks show the night before. He also said the stage would be set up to face the trees at the bottom of the hill, pushing the noise up the hill instead of toward the neighborhood.
As for the parking, Arp said the issue would have to be studied further, but believed vehicles could park in the same area they do for the fireworks show.
City attorney Chris Beesley gave the city a thumbs-up from the legal end, saying the city would not incur any additional liability. Alderman Corbin Herman said he felt this was different from the plan pitched by the Breakfast Club because it doesn’t involve building permanent structures and is a one-time event.
The council also heard from R.E. “Rock” Roeck, who expressed concern over sidewalk plans that are a part of the South 4th Street reconstruction. Roeck manages French Creek RV Park & Campground, located at the corner of Washington and South 4th streets.
Roeck said instead of building a “sidewalk to nowhere” on the northeast side of the street, he would like to see the sidewalk moved to the other side of the street, with the possibility of also building a foot bridge across French Creek.
Council members said these issues have been discussed before, and it was determined that the city would eventually like sidewalks on both sides of the road when new streets are constructed. Ideally, South 4th would have not only sidewalks on each side, but also a foot bridge in the future as funds allow.
City public works director Bob Morrison said the contractors doing the road work have not done any sub grading for the sidewalks and might agree to move it from one side of the road to the other, or drop it from the project all together, if the city wanted. Morrison said he will talk to the contractor to see if the sidewalk planned for the northeast side of the bridge can be installed instead on the southwest side of the bridge.
In other news from the Oct. 7 meeting, the council:
• Learned from Morrison that city maintenance staff worked 107 overtime hours cleaning up after the blizzard two weeks ago. Morrison said he hired Matt Hespen to clear Boot Hill Subdivision after the storm because city staff couldn’t get there in a timely fashion. Morrison said there was also a time when all three plow trucks were broken down during the cleanup effort.
“You guys did an excellent job,” alderwoman Karen Schleining. “You got more done than most cities did.”
Morrison said he is very proud of his guys, who embarked on the monumental task of cleanup with no complaints.
• Agreed to sign grant papers to have engineering work done for a planned pedestrian foot bridge near the elementary school. The bridge, which will be 70-80 feet, will help children get to school over French Creek. The grant is part of the Safe Routes to School program.
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