FRUITLAND — The Fruitland Chamber of Commerce is taking on the task of providing a safe place for kids to go trick-or-treating this year, as they plan a free “Trunk-or-Treat” event in downtown Fruitland. The event is planned for Oct. 30 from 4-6 p.m.
Chamber board chairman Annie Knudsen and board member Cyndi Hart, approached the Fruitland City Council with their plans during its regular meeting on Sept. 27. Knudsen and Hart requested permission to close Southwest Third Street between Colorado Avenue and Kansas Avenue from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. that day, a Saturday.
“It has been in the works a few months,” said Knudsen, telling the council she received a suggestion for such an event from a community member. “We all voted and said, ‘Yeah! We don’t have enough to do, we would love to add another event right after Fruitland Family Fun Day.’”
Knudsen said the event would allow businesses to set up booths for the event if they would prefer. She also asked for permission to use the park for overflow in case they needed it for more space.
“We do have three for-purchase food options that night, if approved … The Black Cow would bring down … mac and cheese and hot cocoa, or something like that,” Knudsen continued, adding that Holy Oly O’s donuts and a taco truck were also queued up for the event.
Members of a local ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are donating caramel apples, she added.
Knudsen originally requested 4:30 to 8:30 p.m., intending to have the event from 5 to 8 p.m. that day. She She discussed timetables for the event with several city officials before settling on 4 to 6 p.m. Fruitland Police Chief J.D. Huff expressed concern over the event’s effect on traffic.
“I guess my concern with this would just be the turnout, the number of people who are coming into the area, flooding that area, side street parking, and the impact it would have on our residents on Southwest Second [Street],” said Huff. “ Because we don’t have any of those people here speaking tonight, so I’m going to throw that out there. That’s an impact on them.”
Public Works Director Jerry Campbell advised the council to be cautious about accepting requests for shutdowns of city streets, as he has observed an increased number of such requests.
“At one point we’ve got to be concerned about just blocking off streets and inconveniencing the traveling public,” said Campbell.
Knudsen said she and Hart said they considered several venues for the event before settling on downtown Fruitland. She said that the park being the heart of the community made it the most viable option.
“I did approach the [Fruitland School District] about this; They’re not super keen on the idea, because it becomes a school event,” she added, noting she would have needed to go to school board meetings to get such an event approved. She also approached a local church with the idea, but it wasn’t well-received by them either.
Knudsen admitted that this year’s event would be of an experimental nature, gauging its potential popularity and impact on downtown traffic.
“It’s the first year of the event; We don’t really know what to expect, so we want to keep it a little low-key, just that small section of the road.”
Councilor Tom Limbaugh moved to approve the closure of Southwest Third Avenue from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 30, seconded by Councilor Jeff Carpenter. The vote to approve was unanimous, 4-0.