By Richard Kerns
Tribune Staff Writer
KEYSER – The Keyser City Council this week approved plans for a downtown fall festival to be held at the end of the October.
The OctoberFest celebration sponsored by the Main Street booster group "Heart of Town" will be held throughout the day Saturday, Oct. 26. Under the plan approved by the Council, the lower half of North Main Street will be closed all day from Center Street to Armstrong Street.
The event will feature live bands, vendors, craft sales, children's games and other attractions.
"We think it will benefit downtown Keyser," said Alex McDonald, who appeared before the Council with fellow Heart of Town member Alison Bunting. "We're hoping to make it bigger this year."
Learning from their experience mounting the first OctoberFest last year, McDonald and Bunting asked the city to prohibit parking between Center and Armstrong later Friday evening after downtown businesses close. Last year vendors appeared for the festival early in the morning and organizers had to scramble to find the owners of cars parked on Main Street, where the vendors were to set up.
Mayor Randy Amtower agreed to direct police to put bags over the meters Friday night. Traffic on that portion of Main Street will be blocked Saturday from 7 a.m. to about 7 p.m., when the festival ends.
In other business at Wednesday's City Council meeting, the city tabled a request by Potomac State College to establish two parking spots on State Street for veterans who attend the college.
Amtower said the request for the parking spots came directly from PSC Provost Leonard A. Colelli, who said that the spots would help serve an increasing number of veterans who are attending the school. PSC already has a few spots designated on the campus for veterans, while the State Street spots would provide more direct access to University Place.
The Council appeared poised to approve the spots until Keyser Police Sgt. Chris Paitsel raised concerns about how such a spot would be designated, either through signage or paint stripes, and how the restriction limiting the space to veterans would be enforced.
When discussion of the issue failed to yield a resolution, the mayor moved to hold the issue for further study, with approval possible at the next Council meeting.
"No one's opposed to it," Amtower said of the designation for veterans' parking. "We have to make sure the mechanics are in place to enforce it."
The next meeting of the Keyser City Council will be 6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 25.