The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

May 17, 2014

Maybe plan could have been devised to keep Ships floating

By Lynn Saternow
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- — The “Small Ships Review” is dead. Long live the “Yachts of Fun Family Festival.”

I couldn’t help but laugh when I saw a huge sign on the side of the Quaker, Steak & Lube complex’s office building in Sharon that touted the new “Festival” on June 27, pointing out it was formerly called the “Small Ships Review.”

The sign kind of smacks in the face of a recent edict by Sharon City Manager Scott Andrejchak that the city is concerned about the number of problems concerning drunken young people who created problems in the city during the past few Small Ships Reviews.

Andrejchak recently provided the QS&L officials with a list of restrictions that will be in effect if they continue the Small Ships. Hey Scott, there is no more Small Ships. It is now Yachts of Fun.

Better come up with a new list!

Andrejchak said there can no longer be a parade and the city can’t use public streets to get to launch points.

Really?

What happened to those signs that used to say: “Welcome to Sharon – The Friendly City.”

 OK, the Small Ships Review may not benefit the whole town and primarily brings in extra money for The Lube that night. But, that restaurant complex has played a big role in downtown activities for decades.

The company provides a lot of local jobs and pays high city property taxes. Plus Lube employees who live in Sharon pay wage taxes.

There were hints last year that the Lube would be moving its headquarters out of Sharon. The city officials were practically on their knees begging the company to keep its offices here.

But now the city – or at least the city manager – apparently doesn’t care if the Lube stays here and maybe is trying to drive them out of town. Hey, I think it’s probably working!

There is no doubt that the Small Ships was a bit out of hand the last few years. And the kind of people it was attracting, might not have been what you normally want walking around your downtown area.

But you would think that intelligent people could get together and come up with plans that would satisfy the QS&L company as well as the city. But not now!

Andrejchak drew lines in the sand. He presented a list of restrictions that was ridiculous. Of course you should enforce open container laws, that’s a given. But to say you would close city parking lots? And to say that no fireworks permits will be issued, even though the fireworks are enjoyed by people for miles around?



If I am the president of Sharon City Council, I would be meeting right now with QS&L officials, apologizing for the way those demands were issued and asking how we can come to some kind of compromise.



That’s because if I am on the board of the QS&L franchises, I would be meeting to put out feelers about where I can move all of our facilities. Surely there is a city with lower taxes where the company would be welcome and be allowed a little bit of leeway for providing entertainment.

There was always some loyalty to Sharon when the original company owners George “Jig” Warren and Gary “Moe” Meszaros were running things. But they are retired.

When outsiders are in charge, sometimes the bottom line is money, as well as a cooperative community. The way it looks, the grass is probably looking a lot greener elsewhere.



The Herald’s Lynn Saternow writes this column each Saturday for The Opinion Page. He can be reached at lsaternow@sharonherald.com.