BlueberryFestival_helicopterPlymouth Park Department Superintendent, Mike Hite told members of the Park Board Monday night, he will be interviewing candidates for the Recreation Director’s position this week.  It’s anticipated that a recommendation will be brought to the board for consideration at their October 5th meeting.

Superintendent Hite said clean-up for the Marshall County Blueberry Festival is nearly complete.  The contract allows the festival to have everything back in on Thursday.

One issue the Park Board did comment on was the helicopter rides that took off and landed at the front Pony League baseball field.  Hite said the field in allowable in the current contract and when the festival approached him about the helicopter rides he discussed his concern for safety and noise.  The helicopter company wanted to be in the park to try and get more rides which did happen although there were issues not considered.  Hite said when he saw the baseball field on Tuesday he was shocked at the damage caused.  The landing and takeoff site was back to bare ground.  This is an irrigated field that was in perfect condition when turned over to the Blueberry Festival.   He also said he was unaware that they were going to refuel the helicopter on the field and is concerned of contamination from the fuel spills.

A discussion with festival management assured him that all repairs will be made to the field at their expense.

Park Board member Bob Beiter said, “To me that whole operation was a tremendous safety issue.  We have power lines to the south, poles around the field and trees to the north and west.  A pilot in the Air Force Beiter said, “That whole operation should be at the airport.”  He indicated that too many things could go wrong and with them flying so low over the crowd is a dangerous thing.  He did say that the helicopter was sitting on the field with a mechanical issue Tuesday evening and thankful that it didn’t have an issue while flying.

Mayor Mark Senter told Plymouth Park Board members that the helicopter was a hot topic on his personal facebook page and the city’s page.

Park Board President Dave Morrow said, “I have no doubt that the Blueberry Festival tried it this year, they’ll find out the concerns and the issue will take care of itself with cooperation.”

Beiter said, “I think we should STRONGLY suggest at the park board that the proper location for the helicopter rides is the airport.”

Mayor Senter said several vendors in the tent directly to the north complained to him their issues with the helicopter rides.  There were safety worries and being able to hear their customers was a problem.