Argos Town officials confirm visit from Blueberry Festival board
ARGOS/PLYMOUTH — Although negotiations for space the 2015 Marshall County Blueberry Festival won’t even begin until after this year’s festival has come and gone, steps towards long-planning continue. The 2014 festival will mark 48 years of holding the Labor Day weekend festival in Plymouth.
Representatives from the Blueberry Festival Board have reportedly looked at several alternative sites throughout the county as a “what-if” back up in the event that the festival would move from Centennial Park in Plymouth.
Bob Brown, Blueberry Festival Board member, met with Argos Community Schools Interim Superintendent, Russ Mikel, two days prior to the Argos School Board meeting in July.
According to Mikel, he was asked to make the school board aware of the possibility of moving the festival to Argos and the need to use the school’s parking lots to accommodate parking. Mikel said he was asked if school would be closed the Friday prior to the festival, if they festival would move to Argos. If that day off would be a consideration, the school calendar would need to be altered for the 2015-2016 school year.
Mikel said, “I was asked to share with the Board to make them aware.”
This conversation was first reported by the Pilot News on July 23. In that report, Marshall County Blueberry Festival coordinator said concerns about the planned tennis court relocation was one of the reasons that a move may be necessary.
The tennis courts in Centennial Park are in need of repair but they are located in a flood plain. New courts are being planned nearby, but this will displace some of the Festival’s favorite attractions, such as the Hoosier Old Wheels Car show, the Balloon glow and the fireworks.
The tennis courts are expected to cost about $1 million, with the City and Plymouth Schools paying for the cost.
Brown and three other representatives of the Blueberry Festival Board also met with the Argos Utilities Superintendent, Jim Burroughs, and a town council member in July.
“We are running our water and waste water capacity at 48 percent now,” Burroughs said.
He said the upgrades to the town’s systems were put in place for any future industrial and/or residential growth in the community. A new water tower was erected in the town approximately 10-15 years ago that increased the water reserve from 75,000 gallons to 150,000 gallons, according to Burroughs. The waste water treatment facility was undated approximately 15 years ago.
Burroughs said the town has two sub-stations for electricity that they purchase from IMPA (Indiana Municipal Power Agency) and resell to local consumers. He said Banner Electric was also present with board members as they toured the area to speak to electric capacities.
Burroughs said he and his staff have a “can do” attitude” Referring to the town’s utilities employees, Burroughs added, “We’ll make it work. I am proud and confident of their abilities.”
Ultimately the Argos Park Board would be the entity to negotiate with the Blueberry Festival Board, the Argos School Board would have to approve school grounds/buildings related needs, and the Argos Town Council would have to address any street or roads concerns.
Since the story broke, public support has rallied towards keeping the festival in Plymouth, including several pages on social media sites.
The current three-year between the Plymouth Park Board and the Blueberry Festival expires this year. Blueberry Festival Coordinator, Sherrie Martin, said no negotiations would be considered until after the 2014 festival.
The Blueberry Festival Board enters into separate agreements with some events at the festival such as the Old Wheels Antique Car Show and the Hot Air Balloon Glow, carnival rides, vendors, and others including of-site official parking at Plymouth High School and Riverside Intermediate School and the Moose tram service.
Pilot News Managing Editor Lois Tomaszewski contributed to this report.
This article appeared in the July 30 edition of the Pilot News.