Chairs, chairs everywhere – without a place to sit.
In the past few years, the common folding chair has become a popular tool for saving prime spots for viewing Canonsburg’s popular Independence Day parade in the days leading up to Fourth of July celebrations. But the clock has run out for dual-purpose street furniture.
Canonsburg Borough Council on Monday voted to restrict the use of chairs on the streets until 6 a.m. July 4. Recently, people have been seen placing the spot savers as early as 12 days prior to the holiday.
The council mentioned multiple concerns with the situation. Chairs have been seen chained together, and entire blocks have been sectioned off by caution tape. Blind residents worried that although they could navigate through the chairs using a walking cane, the wires connecting them would remain invisible. Former residents coming back to their hometown for the parade were unable to find a place to park and missed many of the celebrations. There was also concern that a storm with heavy winds could blow chairs into traffic.
“This has become a liability,” Councilman Timothy Bilsky said. “I don’t see how this adds any more effort” for people trying to secure spots for the Fourth of July. “A lot of residents are in favor of this.”
Council members Patricia Romano, Paul Sharkady, Fran Coleman, Timothy Bilsky, Richard Russo, John Bevec and Joe Graff all voted in favor of the measure.
Councilman Joseph McGarry accounted for the sole “nay” vote.
“I think we’re going from one extreme to the other,” McGarry said. “Maybe we should extend it to July second or third.”
McGarry said he worried about residents getting hurt in the “stampede of elephants” coming to claim their spot at the 6 a.m. deadline.
Canonsburg’s chair-lined streets have become a spectacle in and of themselves. This year, a “Parade of Chairs” event was held by Canonsburg’s Our Town Cooperative, and cash prizes were given out for the most original and flamboyant markers.
The council did not discuss how this new ordinance would be enforced, or what penalties would be levied against residents who disobeyed it.
In other business Monday, council gave the police department its blessing to pursue donations in order to fund a police K-9 officer, and the Canon-McMillan High School girl’s softball team was recognized for winning the state championship.
An emotional Mayor David Rhome read the resignation letter of Councilman Robert “Mont” Miller, written by two of Miller’s daughters. Miller has not been able to attend meetings due to ill health.
The council voted to accept the resignation letter, immediately followed by a motion to appoint Frank Lucas to replace him. Both measures passed unanimously.
“I’d like to send my best to Robert and his family,” said council President John Bevec. “We wish him luck in the tough times he’s going through.