Traverse City Record-Eagle

July 13, 2013

Film Fest: More events in Clinch Park

By BRIAN McGILLIVARY bmcgillivary@record-eagle.com
Traverse City Record-Eagle

---- — TRAVERSE CITY — Traverse City Film Festival officials will move several events to renovated Clinch Park, and they want to angle the screen for their popular Open Space movies back toward downtown.

The Film Festival is on schedule to compete remodeling of the Con Foster Museum into the Bijou by the Bay movie theater by July 29, the day before the festival’s 2013 launch, said Deb Lake, festival executive director. Festival leaders also plan to host a festival party on the park grounds and move cinema salons -- small tents with tables and chairs for post-movie discussions -- to grassy areas of the park.

“Clinch Park is so wonderful down there and it’s a real nice place to sit,” Lake said. “We’re trying to create a more centralized kind of campus ... to keep the venues localized.”

City staff said they may move the party, a $500 per-ticket fundraiser, and the salons to the park pavilions patio to protect newly laid sod and seeded lawn areas.

City commissioners said they will want to look closely at all proposed festival changes when they meet Monday at 7 p.m. in the Governmental Center.

Commissioner Jody Bergman said she doesn’t have a problem with the festival’s use of the patio, as long as it isn’t constantly tied up and blocks public use.

Bergman said she’ll also want to see all of the building and occupancy permits “in hand” before anyone is allowed into the renovated Con Foster building, considering what happened with the Clinch Park splash pad.

The city’s contractors and consultants did not obtain the necessary permits and a sewer back-up exposed up to 15 children to raw sewage. The two projects are unrelated, other than location.

Film Festival officials also propose to return their towering movie screen in the Open Space to its original location facing south towards downtown.

“I don’t know if that’s going to fly,” said city Commissioner Barbara Budros. “The are going to have to show me it won’t cause the same problems it did before.”

Noise complaints from residents in the Central Neighborhood led to relocating the festival’s screen so it faces east. Lake said the festival has invested in a new sound system they believe will keep the sound more localized. Speakers will be located high off the ground and pointed down into the crowds, Lake said.

The festival wants to go back to the original location because there is less interference with lights from Grandview Parkway, Lake said. The grass there also is better and that site seems to create a more family friendly atmosphere, she said.