It’s festival time again at the park. The Weinland Park Festival is kind of an odd little entity because it really isn’t a normal type of festival but then again what is normal in Weinland Park. This year, as in other years the festival features various social service agencies, some developers and churches disseminating information about various programs  that they offer. And everything is free from the Ohio sweet corn to the hotdogs and the Jeni’s ice cream. But in some ways it highlights that the neighborhood has a ways to go and it highlights the disparities that have to be overcome. Some neighborhood festivals have food trucks and other things for which the neighbors have to pony up cash to participate. This is not the case in Weinland Park. And this inadvertently highlights the income gaps in the neighborhood. Of course not having everything be free would also highlight the income gap in the neighborhood. The challenge would be to have a festival that caters to everyone but is that possible? Currently, there is little impetus to go if you’re not in the market for services of a social service agency. But having other activities for a higher-income demographic along with the social service aspect is another Weinland Park social minefield that no one really wants to wade into yet. Consequently,  a festival where neighbors get together, have a drink and watch some entertainment seems a lifetime away. And it may be impossible, the festival now currently ends at 4:00 in the afternoon so that trouble doesn’t have a chance to brew. Adding anything else to the mix is a complete wild card. The whole affair outlines the challenges of putting the mix in a planned mixed income neighborhood. If it seems impossible to have a mixed-income festival how do you make a sustainable mixed-income neighborhood?

On the plus side there are a quite a few children’s activities like an art area and the perennial favorite: the bouncy houses. The kids also have a chance to check out the fire truck which appeared to be very popular. And the ice cream is always a big hit. So there’s room for some type of shared experience.

In other festival news the announcement of the week is that bike lanes will be added to Summit and North Fourth streets when they are repaved in 2014 (your local blogger is somewhat sure of the year) It is hoped in the nieghborhood that this will slow down traffic slightly. And the parking restrictions will also be lifted so no more moving your car around in the morning or evening.

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