City board says no to shutting down Liberty Square for July 4th event

City board says no to shutting down Liberty Square for July 4th event

SPARTALIVE/June 25, 2018 1:01 PM

Concerned residents spoke to city officials Thursday in an attempt to garner an answer as to why the Sparta Board of Mayor and Aldermen denied a permit for a July 4th celebration in downtown Sparta.

Candidate for White County executive, Jim Ward, addressed the board about his desire to close the Sparta square for a Fourth of July celebration. Ward stated that he was addressing the board to get an answer to why his parade permit was turned down during the June 7, 2018, board meeting.

“The Fourth of July is our nation’s birthday,” says Ward. “The freedom and luxuries we enjoy have been paid for countless time on battlefields all over the globe, and I, as a constituent, would like to see the council apply more diligence and focus to the Fourth of July celebration.”

After Ward spoke, Tanya Rust approached the board as well. She explained how she came from a smaller town out west that is smaller than Sparta and that the local government there found time to include the community to celebrate the Fourth of July.

“We live in a nation right now where a part of our history is dying every day,” said Rust. “Our monuments are being torn down, and our school systems are editing school books to leave out parts that are uncomfortable to some folks.”

Dr. Chad Griffin took the microphone to reply to Rust and her husband, Wendell Rust.

“Wendell, I know you and Tanya well, and we worked together when we were involved in Discover Sparta,” said Griffin. “Our concerns were about closing off the streets. We didn’t have a problem with what was happening. We were just concerned that the city would have to sponsor this if we closed down the streets.”

Griffin went on to explain to Ward and the Rusts that if the city sponsored an event like closing down the streets for a private Fourth of July celebration, it would set a precedence for the city to sponsor every private celebration involving shutting down the Sparta square.

The mayor wished the parties well in their endeavors and reminded them that the board would still not endorse closing the square down for a private celebration.

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