City Council grants requests to hold events on Main Street


Councilman Tim Gartin questions Ames citizens asking for permission to hold a concert on Main st. during a meeting on March 7.

Chris Anderson

Ames City Council started its meeting Tuesday night with a proclamation from Mayor Ann Campbell setting the date of Eco Fair Day for March 25.

Eco Fair Day is an annual Ames event that has been hosted for over a decade. The fair aims to educate Ames residents with information about water conservation, reducing electric consumption, low-impact landscaping, sustainable practices and conservation rebates.

Eco Fair Day will take place in City Hall Community Center Gym. The event will be open to the public and will include booths, vendors, activities and displays educating Ames residents about conservation.

Much time was spent debating aspects of various concerts and events being scheduled by the Ames Main Street Cultural District and London Underground.

London Underground asked to host an event titled LondonFest, similar to Oktoberfest, on April 22. The event would be a 10-year anniversary celebration of London Underground and would feature live music, games and a ferris wheel.

The council passed the resolution granting London Underground owner Jess Clyde permission to close off sections of main street and serve alcohol outside during the event.

A series of concerts taking place on Main Street called Firefly Country Nights has been the subject of much debate in recent council meetings.

Two Iowa State students spoke to the council about why they think these kinds of events are a good idea. Amy Strandell and Abby Johnson, seniors in event management, got involved with the organization of the events through their entrepreneurship class.

Strandell and Johnson got the opportunity to interview with Clyde, one of the main organizers behind the events.

“With our peers and with the help of the Ames Police Department, we do believe we will be able to host a safe event,” Strandell said.

Strandell also felt that the fact that these concerts will be taking place away from Campustown further reinforces the safety of the event.

The council had little concerns about the Firefly event that is scheduled to take place July 14 and granted the request to Clyde to host the event on Main Street on that date.

Much more debate was given to the final request to host a similar concert on Sept. 8, the Friday before Cy-Hawk weekend.

The council noted its concern for hosting the event on this day, as it is a day city police resources are already stretched thin. Cy-Hawk weekend is also a time when Ames sees an influx of visitors and parties.

In an earlier meeting, Ames Chief of Police Charles Cychosz likened the weekend to the new Veishea.

Councilwoman Bronwyn Beatty-Hansen echoed concerns she was hearing from city staff.

“The clear message we’re getting from staff is we can’t ensure a safe event on that date,” Beatty-Hansen said.

Clyde, who is in partnership with the Ames Main Street Cultural District, has been a driving force behind scheduling these events. He outlined the benefits of hosting these types of events downtown.

“Events like these have actually increased revenue for businesses. That’s been the norm not the exception,” Clyde said.

Clyde also warned against letting downtown Ames stagnate by not hosting cultural events such as this.

After much debate, the council officially granted the request to host one of the Firefly Country Night events on that weekend.