Cleveland Heights City Council has scheduled a special meeting for 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at City Hall and could pass an ordinance with new curfew restrictions for those under 18.
Cleveland Heights Mayor Ed Kelley said though the language and restrictions are still being fine-tuned, the city will implement tighter curfew rules, and kids will need to be accompanied by an adult if they go to parks and business districts like Coventry, Cedar-Lee and Cedar Fairmount at night.
"What’s going to happen with this ordinance is if you show up without a parent and you’re under 18, we’re going to give you a ticket," Kelley said, though the specifics and fine amounts are still being worked out.
Kelley said that the city has discussed curfew laws for awhile now, inspired by a similar ordinance passed in Cuyahoga Falls earlier this year.
Kelley doesn't want incidents like what happened at the Coventry Street Arts Fair Sunday to deter people who want to come to the city.
"My goal is to make our city the safest city in Cuyahoga County, and this will help us do that. And obviously in the case of Coventry, I want people to come to visit Coventry — live there, work there, eat there, shop there," Kelley said. "I want them to feel safe and comfortable coming to Coventry."
Police Chief Jeffrey Robertson said 16 teenagers were arrested for fighting and drinking after the fair, and though it was hard to determine the exact number, he estimated hundreds of kids were just hanging out in the street Sunday.
No one outside of the people fighting was hurt, he said.
He said he has a meeting today to go over the details of the ordinance with Law Director John Gibbon.
Because of the problems Sunday, the next fair, scheduled for July 24, may be canceled.
"My first and major concern here is the safety of the people who come to the fair. If people can’t be kept safe, I’m not for the fair. That’s the bottom line," Kelley said. The city must give the Coventry Village Special Improvement District, which organizes the fair, permission to have the event.
Steve Presser, owner of Big Fun and member of the Coventry Village Special Improvement District, said business owners, city officials and police are meeting sometime soon to discuss ways to avoid the disturbance following the last fair.
Kelley made the urgency for this ordinance clear, and is confident it will be ready and voted on Wednesday.
"I’m not waiting another week. We don’t meet again until next Tuesday the 5th, and I want this in place and city council wants this in place for police for this weekend," he said. "What I’m more concerned about is the safety of our residents and the people who come to visit us. My concern is safety and my goal is to make us the safest city in Cuyahoga County 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year."