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Ohio Town Aims to Have More Fun

August 17, 2004

SOUTH EUCLID, Ohio (AP) _ You won’t hear merry songs spilling from an ice cream truck or smell burgers sizzling at a park picnic.

In South Euclid, it’s illegal to sell frozen treats from a truck, and also to grill in city parks. It’s also against the rules to sit in a car and eat in a fast-food restaurant parking lots.

Mayor Georgine Welo wants the city to be fun again.

``I’m going to have my ice cream truck and I’m going to have my grills,″ she said.

Welo is looking into the cost of outdoor grills, and a City Council committee is reviewing legislation to lift the ice cream truck ban. Although the ban probably won’t be lifted this summer, Welo is shooting for next year.

Welo said that while she campaigned door-to-door last year, residents asked Welo why the Cleveland suburb wasn’t fun anymore.

``They talked about how South Euclid used to be back in the ’50s,″ she said. ``They talked about ice cream trucks. They asked, ‘Why don’t we have ice cream trucks?’

``I said, ’I don’t know.‴

Records show that ice cream trucks were banned in 1974. That year, council also imposed a 1 a.m. curfew on party centers.

In 1975, the council said that bars could have no more than four pinball machines. Since 1979, carnivals held on city property are allowed only three amusement park rides.

``We’ve been no fun since 1974,″ Welo said. ``We’ve been waiting a long time to have fun in South Euclid.″

The ban on eating in fast-food parking lots was adopted by council in the 1960s in response to teenage fights. Welo said she’s not going to lift that ban because no one is complaining.

The prohibition of cookouts in the park was imposed by the Fire Department through an administrative order in the late 1980s, when a drought raised concerns about grass fires.

But at least one city councilman is a self-admitted Scrooge who opposes the efforts to make South Euclid fun again. Councilman Ron Rosenfield even wants to ban Halloween trick-or-treating.

``Being against ice cream trucks and Halloween is not politically popular,″ he said, calling the mayor’s proposals ``window dressings″ to hide pressing needs such as tight budgets and decaying streets.

``We’ll have band concerts, barbecues and ice cream trucks and everybody will pretend it’s 1957,″ Rosenfield said.

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