City didn’t charge veterans for park

When it came to Veterans Day services in the City of Warren on Monday the city’s usage fees weren’t an issue.

According to City Manager Nancy Freenock, the veterans did not reserve General Joseph Warren Park or utilize any city services, so there was no fee.

“We had a meeting with the leaders of the various groups and Mr. Burris last week where they confirmed the city’s position,” Freenock said on Tuesday, referring to Ed Burris, Warren County Veterans Affairs director. “If no reservation was made for use of a specific area, and no city services were requested or required, then there is no fee.”

The institution of a city usage fee prompted Memorial Day services this year to be held in Youngsville rather than the city. At the time, there was some confusion over the issue.

A meeting in July clarified that the policy would not result in a fee without usage of city services or a reservation. At the time, Councilman and veteran John Lewis noted he had been approached by community members willing to cover the reservation fee if needed.

“If there’s a $100 fee, they don’t ever have to pay it,” Lewis said in July. “If you want to reserve it, the check is written.”

Freenock explained at the meeting that the policy had been suggested by the city solicitor and had to be applied equally to all groups.

“What we’ve been told by our solicitor is that every group must be treated equally,” she said. “That’s what we’re trying to do.”

The possibilities of the Warren County Veterans Council accepting the deed to General Joseph Warren Park or having the park designated as a veterans memorial were also presented at the July meeting.

While organizers dodged the controversy over charging veterans for park usage, they did risk not having exclusive usage.

“They understood that, without a reservation, it would be possible that they would have to share the facility if another group also arrived without a reservation,” Freenock said.

Freenock said that, to her knowledge, the lack of a reservation didn’t impede the ceremony from running smoothly.

“As far as I know, all went well,” she said. “The city is very happy that the remembrance ceremony took place in Warren yesterday (Monday). General Joseph Warren Park is an appropriate situs for such a ceremony.”

Freenock said Lewis took part in the ceremony on behalf of the city, issuing a proclamation declaring Monday as Veterans Day in the city.