City Commission Discusses Jessamine Fall Festival

Published 7:00 am Thursday, March 3, 2022

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Nicholasville City Commission received an update on the Jessamine Fall Festival during its meeting Feb. 28 at Nicholasville City Hall.

Last year’s festival drew in 20,000 people, according to Jessamine Fall Festival director Ann Marie Nipp.
Over 100 vendors showed up for the September event.

Nipp came before the Commission to present some ideas for the festival, such as a date change and additional activities. They asked her to come again once she got more details confirmed.

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“Tonight is a good discussion. We won’t finalize anything,” said Commissioner Alex Carter to Nipp. “Come back to the next workshop or meeting when you get more details to make sure we’re all on the same page.”

They hope to host the Jessamine Fall Festival on Oct. 14-15, which is when Caseys Rides, an amusement ride company based in Utica, will be available. While she said they had hoped to host the carnival at the fairgrounds, but was told at the meeting that the Daughter of the American Revolution had the fairgrounds booked that weekend.

Some community members have asked that the Jessamine Fall Festival’s name be changed back to Jessamine Jamboree.

Several commissioners suggested that finding another creative name may be more appropriate, as the suggested name brings up painful memories for some people. The name may also be copyrighted. During the 2001 Jessamine Jamboree parade, an accident occurred that claimed the life of a Jessamine County teen and injured others.

“Hundreds of children and families were involved in that accident,” said Commissioner Patty Teater, whose children were impacted by the incident. “It took me years to be able to watch another parade. … I think that others have the same feelings about (the name), so it may not be a wise choice. Why bring up those hurtful memories if you don’t have to.”

Nipp said the festival board has been talking with the police department about having a parade. Currently, the only other parade in Jessamine County is held during the winter.

“If we have a parade, we will have a board that is solely responsible for it. They won’t work on anything else,” Nipp said.
The festival has received verbal commitment from the national guard to have about 15 troops at the parade to help with crowd control and ensure safety, Nipp said.

Police Chief Todd Justice noted that the added national guard would help his staff immensely.

Some other fall activities, such as Maze Days and Military Freedom Fest, are looking at holding their events at the same time as the fall festival so they can get more exposure, Nipp said.The festival organizers are also looking into creating another kids’ play zone.

Last year’s festival proceeds benefited Jessamine County Homeless Shelter, Phoenix Grace Children’s Home and Breaking Free Ministries.

Nipp said the shelter will stay on as a beneficiary of the proceeds, but the other nonprofits will be chosen every two years. In other matters, the mayor was authorized to sign an agreement that would help a developer gain an easement that will help them tie into existing sanitary sewer lines at the new Steak ‘n Shake site.

Another agreement to be signed will help the city make improvements to an area for its trail project.

Once the city is out of the current phase of working on securing rights of way, they will be able to work on finalizing the design, said Tim Cross, director of the planning commission.

“We’re just another step closer,” he said.

In other matters, Scottie Perdue was approved to be appointed to the Joint Economic Development Committee.
Meanwhile, Doug Blackford, director of general government for Nicholasville, said they hope to finish the last punch list Monday so the police department can move into its new building.

In other business, Commission approved the second reading of amendments to the zoning and subdivision ordinances. Both changes are mostly definition updates.In the zoning ordinance update, the city proposes changing the required regulation for multi-family parking for 2 ¼ parking spaces per unit.

The proposal also changes fencing requirements for front side yards, which may include houses on corner lots. The proposed change will allow for half the front side yard to be fenced without requiring a variance.

Otherwise, the property owner can’t go any further than the front of the house with a 6-foot fence.Proposed subdivision regulation updates are also mostly definition changes. It also calls for 5-feet wide sidewalks in new subdivisions and has specifications on how to taper from a wide to narrow sidewalk.

Correspondent Nicole Bowman-Layton wrote this story for the Jessamine Journal.