Power coming to Muskingum Park soon

Electricity should be available in time for next month’s Sweet Corn Festival and any future events planned at East Muskingum Park, through efforts of the corn festival organizers, the city of Marietta and the local electricians’ union.

“The Sweet Corn Festival folks have worked very hard to make this happen, and I think other entities will now see the advantage of holding events at East Muskingum Park,” said Marietta safety-service director Jonathan Hupp.

The lack of available electrical power at the city park, located along the Muskingum River on Front Street, has been a major drawback for organizations wanting to stage events there.

Now in its sixth year, the Sweet Corn Festival was originally held on the front lawn of Marietta’s National Guard Armory, but last year the event had to be moved to East Muskingum Park due to the Armory Square renovation project.

“We wanted to have power installed last year, but there wasn’t enough money available, so we ran everything on a large generator,” Jessie Bigley, president of the Sweet Corn Festival Committee, said Thursday.

She said the electricity is needed for food vendors as well as for the festival stage and sound system, so access to power at the park will make things much more convenient for everyone.

“It’s also much cooler with the shade trees at the park. We were always in the sun at the armory and it was hot,” Bigley said.

The project will cost approximately $12,000, with $3,000 contributed by the Sweet Corn Festival group and $9,000 from funds freed up in the city’s Community Development Block Grant fund after a clerical position was eliminated in the city development office earlier this year.

Bigley said $1,000 of the Sweet Corn’s contribution came from the committee and the remaining $2,000 from private donations.

“Just this week everything seems to have come together for providing electricity at the park,” said city development director Andy Coleman.

The project will include installation of a power pole with meter access steps near the parking lot at the south end of the park and running an electrical line from an existing utility pole across Front Street from the park.

Another line will be extended underground from the new pole to an electrical service box on the park grounds.

Coleman said the components for the project will cost approximately $10,800, and there will be a $1,200 charge to have necessary connections made by American Electric Power of Ohio.

“The local (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers 972) is donating the work,” he added. “It’s coming up to the eleventh hour for the Sweet Corn Festival, so we want to have this work done by the time the festival starts.”

The 2013 Sweet Corn Festival is scheduled to take place at the park on July 19 and 20.

Hupp said any electricity used during events will be metered and the cost charged to the groups or individuals making use of the power facilities.