By ordinance, roadblock fund-raisers are prohibited in Mount Carmel. But for years the Board of Mayor and Aldermen has granted variances to that ordinance for legitimate nonprofit organizations to conduct fund-raisers on Main Street intersections. The biggest beneficiaries of the roadblocks are school sports teams and school organizations, which have to raise their own money to get through a season.
Recently, however, board members have reported receiving numerous complaints about the roadblocks. Members of the community have objected to the frequency of charitable roadblocks, their being conducted at multiple intersections at the same time, and safety concerns such as children collecting cash without adult supervision.
In one instance, town officials received complaints about cheerleaders performing stunts in the roadway.
Last month, the BMA directed its Safety Committee to study the matter and return this month with a recommendation.
That recommendation, presented Tuesday to the BMA, was to limit the number of roadblocks permitted in a year, restrict them to Hammond Avenue, and only allow donations to be taken from three approaches to the intersection — excluding the approach from Highway 11-W.
Despite the recommendations, some board members were ready Tuesday to completely eliminate roadblocks. Aldermen Carl Wolfe and Wanda Worley-Davidson said they hadn’t heard from any constituents in favor of allowing roadblocks, only constituents opposed to roadblocks.
There was also discussion regarding the town’s liability by granting roadblock variances. Safety Committee Chairman Fred Arnold noted that the town wouldn’t allow any employees to work in the roadway without reflective vests and cones, and neither should it allow charitable groups to take donations from the roadway without cones and vests.
VHS volleyball coach Tina Evans attended Tuesday’s BMA meeting to formally request a roadblock for her team. Last month, the BMA halted all roadblock requests until the matter was resolved.
Evans assured board members her players would be supervised by at least three adults for their July 26 roadblock, and they would be wearing appropriate attire.
Ultimately the BMA voted 4-3 in favor of allowing the roadblocks to continue but under a new set of guidelines.
There will only be six roadblocks allowed per year — one per month April to September. Roadblock variances will be granted on a first-come, first-served basis.
They will be limited to the Hammond Avenue intersection excluding the 11-W approach.
And participants are required to wear a reflective vest and set up cones, which they must provide themselves.
Aldermen who voted against allowing roadblocks to continue were Wolfe, Worley-Davidson and Tresa Mawk. Only Wolfe voted against the volleyball team roadblock.