City puts onus on organizers in new policy governing city-owned property and facilities

Timothy Schafer
By Timothy Schafer
August 23rd, 2017

The city will be insuring event organizers ensure that no person will damage or destroy city property in the event of an event at any city-owned and operated facility in Grand Forks.

City council adopted the Use of City Property or Facilities policy at its regular meeting, putting on paper and into legislation the parameters that now must be adhered to for all events occurring in the city on city property.

In all, the new policy lays out 23 statements that provide increased policy guidance — which city staff will now be able to enforce — on the use of city property or facilities for events and community functions and deals with all of the questions and uncertainties that may arise and have arisen around city facilities.

Council included three new aspects in the new policy when it finally passed muster, including reserving the right to refuse use of its property for events where there is “potential for damage, crowd control issues, liquor abuse, inadequate planning, or if any provision of this policy is not met.”

Organizers will also have to fill out an event request form, available at City Hall, at least one month prior to the event.

Event organizers are also required to ensure that no person will:

  • damage or destroy any sign, building, or property;
  • deposit rubbish, garbage, or refuse of any kind except in receptacles provided for that purpose.

The overall policy covers the standard issues of alcohol, noise, parking, security and food as well as increasingly important topics of liability and insurance, hazardous materials, damage and private possessions stored on city property.

The time had come for an all-encompassing policy regarding usage of city-owned property and facilities, after years without one. The city had often received event requests for the use of municipal properties for community events like the fall fair or the farmers market, but had no mechanism in place to regulate them.

“There was little existing policy guidance on what information to request from activity coordinators or what kind of safety standards need to be in place,” read a city staff report to city council.

The new policy will create a framework around which to work with activity coordinators — the people who organize the various events in the city — to ensure safe events that reflect the city’s intention for the use of its property and facilities.

The impetus for a temporary use of city property policy arose when it became evident that numerous events were costing the city tens of thousands of dollars per year — with no allowance for additional accounting of benefits to the city for large events.

“Events can have a positive economic impact on the city in general, especially the larger events that draw visitors,” the staff report noted. “Creating a policy will make the city’s expectations more transparent to the public.”

Categories: General

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