For second time in nearly a year, Jax aldermen raise alarm about downtown solicitors

By Gary Scott on November 25, 2015 at 8:36am

Kiwanis Club Peanut fundraiser from 2014. Picture from the Kiwanis Club Facebook page.

Towards the end of Monday’s City Council meeting, alderwoman Lori Large Oldenettel asked for a refresher on the rules of signage requirement for groups that operate fundraisers, always at the intersection of College Avenue and South Main Street.

Knowing which fundraiser Oldenettel had in mind, City Clerk Skip Bradshaw said he went to the intersection during the recent fundraiser and told the solicitors that they weren’t meeting the signage requirements the city has for the event.

It’s the same complaint aldermen had last year.

Mayor Andy Ezard, who last year directed the city police chief to shut down non-compliant solicitors, noted he’s gotten complaints about wayward solicitors recently.

“I think there is a little momentum to digging in this a little bit deeper. Last year, a couple years ago, we made them provide more signage, and become more visible with wearing a vest. However, I think that we need to revisit all of it again. That section is dangerous. You can have a vest and all of the signs in the world, but safety is number one,” notes Ezard.

“I know these folks do a great job of trying to raise money for very good causes, but I think we need to take a closer look before something happens to an individual, and for the convenience of the motorists too in the cars. A lot of times they don’t want to be bothered,” he adds.

The group in reference on Monday was apparently raising money through Pizza Hut to fight world hunger.

“What’s kind of driving this is that the last organization that did it, they did it on back-to-back days and consecutive weekends, which I feel a little bit to the extreme as far as being out there,” Ezard says.

“I think now that I have listened to the aldermen and also had feedback from folks that it bothers them, I have decided on people being safe and this is one of those concerns that we will revisit before it happens in 2016.”

Alderwoman Marcy Patterson, who also has gotten complaints, told fellow aldermen on Monday, “We’re a very giving community. It’s a safety hazard to have people standing out there. As a council, we need to do away with that practice for everyone. It’s not safe.”