By Karen Kennedy
The owners of Detour – An American Grille got a pleasant surprise at the Carmel Board of Works meeting June 5 when Mayor Jim Brainard not only announced that its request for an outdoor party with live music was granted, but also that he will close the adjacent portion of 2nd Avenue NW through approximately Nov. 1 for public safety reasons.
However, along with the granting of the request came several very strongly worded caveats and financial obligations for the owners of Detour, as well.
The mayor’s decision seems to have been influenced in part by Detour’s new general manager, Mark Schaefer, who assured the Board of Works that he would keep a tight control on the evening’s events.
“These people work for me,” Schaefer said, referring to the bands. “I pay them, and I’ll tell them to turn it down.”
The mayor told Schaefer that he appreciated that statement, and said that he had not heard such a strong statement from a representative of Detour in the past.
However, the mayor is backing up that promise with some muscle from the city as well. The Police Chief Tim Green will assign officers to the event, and Detour will bear the full cost of compensating the city for their wages, which, according to the Mayor is $56.34 per hour on regular time and $84.50 per hour at time and a half (including all benefits).
“I will speak to the officers on duty myself,” Brainard said. “And, I will tell them that they have full authority to shut it down the minute they feel things are getting out of control. People have to be able to sit outside at Bazbeaux or Bub’s and have a conversation, easily. And, one word of profanity from the band, and it’s done.”
Brainard also told the representatives from Detour that they would need to find an attractive alternative to the orange temporary fencing they have used in the past, which the mayor said detracts from the overall look of the area, and instead find railing-type fencing. He also chastised Detour for blocking the sidewalk with tables and chairs to the point that pedestrians were forced to walk in the street to pass by the restaurant, and noted that they do not have a letter of permission on file to use that space.
“Your lease stops at your door. The sidewalk belongs to the city and you need to ask permission to use it,” Brainard said.
Schaefer also agreed to ensure that the breezeway would remain unobstructed so that there would be easy access to the Monon steps.
The decision to close the street does not give Detour carte blanche to hold outdoor parties with live music any time it wants. According to the mayor’s office, Detour still will need to request permission each time it wants to have live music outside.
“We are happy to have worked out the challenges we have faced in the past,” Schaefer said. “And, we’re ready to show the city that we can be good neighbors, and make the event something the whole city can enjoy.”