MERIDIAN TOWNSHIP - Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the decision to re-schedule the Celebrate Meridian event was discussed at the virtual Township Board meeting on Tuesday, April 14. The final decision to postpone the event was announced yesterday via a press release from Meridian Township. Celebrate Meridian was originally scheduled to take place on Saturday, June 27, but will be moved to some time in the fall.
Prior to the cancellation announcement, Parks and Recreation Director LuAnn Maisner went to the Township Board to ask their opinions on the matter. Talking about Celebrate Meridian, "This event is all about bringing everyone together to connect. There are beer and wine tents, activities for children, live music, and more. The estimated population is usually ranging from 15,000-20,000 people."
When asked about what the right move would be, Trustee Courtney Wisinski states, "This is such a large event for Meridian Township. I think it's important to have this event, but my concern is that I don't think we will be in any place to have a gathering of that size safely." Wisinski also added that even if the state re-opens, it may still not be safe to go to large gatherings.
Meridian Township Clerk Brett Dreyfus also stated his opinion, "It seems that the risk is still unknown when the stay at home order will end. The bottom line is, when would the 6 feet minimum policy be lifted? I don't think a lot of people are ready to do that yet. I agree that we should postpone Celebrate Meridian to later summer or early fall. Partner it with the grand opening of Market Place on the Green." Clerk Dreyfus makes it clear that their goal is to make sure no residents are in jeopardy.
Trustee Jackson agreed with both Trustee Wisinski and Clerk Dreyfus in the decision to postpone until fall, "It gives us an opportunity to combine activities and will be good timing."
Another option presented, aside from cancelling it all together, was to only have fireworks. Meridian Township Supervisor Ron Styka added that he was in favor of considering that option, but ultimately would be too much a risk, "The worry with fireworks is that people will get out of their cars and not social distance." Supervisor Styka finished by stating that he feels persuaded to postpone the event and possibly move fireworks to labor day or another date moving forward.
Another issue with having the event is the funding that goes into it. Treasurer Phil Deschaine joined in the discussion by saying, "An issue may be funding. We don't know how the budget will look for the rest of the year based on revenue dropping."
Celebrate Meridian raised 55,000 dollars last year. This is an event that gathers a lot of people and is in need of many resources. A lot of the money and resources received comes from local business donating, but with the impact of having to closure during the pandemic, many businesses may not be able to financially contribute.
The Township Board came to the conclusion that postponing the event would be the best option, and again, the official announcement was made yesterday.
HOMTV will continue to follow this story and provide updates on the status of Celebrate Meridian.