The annual Athens Halloween block party will not be happening this fall.
Mayor Steve Patterson noted during Athens City Council’s Sept. 21 meeting that Halloween festivities in the area will look different this year. No ordinance has been passed by city leaders in relation to the annual Halloween block party, for example, a move which is done yearly to close off portions of Court Street.
“There will not be a Halloween block party in which there are stages, music and other events going on on Court Street,” the mayor said during city council’s Sept. 21 meeting.
The Ohio Department of Health recently released recommendations for Halloween activities. For example, the health department recommended that haunted house attractions and hayrides be closed and canceled this year. The health department also advised that communities take caution in terms of running Beggar’s Night events.
Some local organizations have already canceled their Halloween events. The Athens Uptown Business Association, for example, announced that it will not host a trick-or-treat event on Court Street this year, but neighborhood-wide trick-or-treating may still continue, Patterson said. However, he encouraged residents who choose to participate in trick-or-treat events to think of ways to physically distance while distributing candy to costume-clad kids.
Councilmember Beth Clodfelter commented that in her experience living on Athtens’ East Side, she witnessed crowds of children partake in trick-or-treating in that part of town in years past, a concern about their willingness to physically distance. She noted that last year, she gave away 450 pieces of candy (one piece per child) in roughly 25 minutes.
Councilmember Chris Fahl noted that the mask mandate for the city could assist with safety during trick-or-treat events, as well as residents placing buckets of candy outside their residence as opposed to passing candy out by hand.
Council will further discuss residential trick-or-treating in coming meetings.
Other items on the meeting agenda:
Council read for the third time an ordinance authorizing the service-safety director to execute a temporary easement and right-of-way agreement with the Ohio Power Company (AEP) for installation for electrical equipment at the water treatment plant. Councilmember Fahl introduced this item and voiced excitement over it. The easement makes it so AEP can install a microgrid system at the water treatment plant, an effort Fahl described as “cutting edge.” Patterson echoed this sentiment, stating the project has been a slow process, but Athens is one of two sites in the state of Ohio to have this kind of partnership. The ordinance was ultimately approved by council.
Another proposed ordinance, up for second reading, would designate Seaman’s Grocery, located at 305 W. Union St., as a local historic district. Another ordinance was read to designate the Uptown area as a local historic designation.