Better weather has to be around the corner.
On a bitterly cold evening Monday, the Decorah City Council approved the closure of a street and parking spaces for outdoor events this spring and summer.
Organizers of the Water Street Music Series (WSMS) asked that W. Water Street, between River and Court streets, be closed from 5:30-10 p.m. Saturday, May 11, for a concert lasting approximately from 7-9 p.m.
"Our May event will include a wide variety of talented musicians featured in earlier performances this season," organizers and Luther seniors Lindsay Sheridan and Dan Fernelius said in a written request for the street closing. "Exploring folk, classical and perhaps even jazz and beyond, this event will serve as a culmination of the entire season, bringing community musicians together alongside Luther student musicians right in the heart of downtown Decorah."
There will be no vendors selling alcohol, food or other goods during the event. The Council approved the closing of the 300 block of West Water Street on a 6-1 vote. Council members Gary Rustad, Rachel Vagts, Paul Wanless, John Franzen, Carolyn Corbin and Julie Fischer voted in favor of the motion, and Randy Schissel voted against it.
Before the vote, Wanless expressed concern approving the request would be precedent-setting. However, the consensus was that such requests would be considered on a case-by-case basis. Schissel said he had reservations about the impact closing Water Street would have on businesses open on Saturday evenings, especially on Mother's Day weekend.
WSMS was founded in 2012 by Fernelius and Sheridan to present collaborative, local music in Decorah connecting Luther and the larger community in a meaningful way, the students said. Six concerts have been presented around the community so far.
Lawn chair closings
The Council unanimously approved the closing of three parking spaces in front of the Water Street Park for special Lawn Chair Nights this summer.
The spaces will be closed 6-8 p.m. Thursday, June 20, Thursday, July 18, and Thursday, Aug. 15. Lawn Chair Nights are held every Thursday throughout the summer except during Nordic Fest and fair week. In his request for the street closings, David Lester, a member of the Downtown Decorah Betterment Association, said the third Thursday of the month, Lawn Chair Night, will be geared toward "more intimate shows," such as one-act plays.
"We were also thinking this would be a great Blue Zones/Decorah Wellness opportunity on these dates. We could also highlight some local growers with food samples," said Lester, the general manager of the Oneota Community Food Co-op.