Requests to use OC facilities get OK after virus concerns discussed

Concerns about coronavirus-related health directives as well as risks split the vote among Oil City Council members Thursday as they considered requests to use city facilities.

Council eventually approved all four requests, but there was dissension about two of the activities.

The Oil City YMCA was given the OK to use city fields for a flag football program this fall. However, council member Michael Poff objected to the request.

“We’re not having sports so this is not a good idea,” said Poff. “I’d love to have it but we are in the middle of a pandemic.”

Councilman Michael Walentosky said he favored the field use because “the YM is doing it and they’re pretty good about what they follow.”

Voting in favor of the request were Walentosky, Mayor Bill Moon and Ron Gustafson. Poff voted no.

The fifth council member, Isaiah Dunham, was absent from the meeting.

A second request also drew a divided vote. The YM was granted the right to use the same field area for its fall soccer program. The request was granted with Poff again voting no.

On a third request, Poff changed his mind after asking a series of questions about the safety precautions taken at the Oil City Elks Club’s chicken barbecue dinner held in July on a closed section of Sycamore Street.

The club will hold a second dinner from 3 to 6 p.m. Aug. 27 at the same site.

Venango County Commissioner Sam Breene attended the meeting and offered remarks about the club’s event. Breene is the exalted ruler for the local Elks Lodge.

Breene said the cooks and servers wore personal protection, including gloves and masks, and attendees practiced social distancing. There was a limited capacity rule that was followed, too.

“We did a good job and we were very successful,” said Breene. “It allowed us not to go defunct … in hard times.”

Council unanimously approved the club’s request to close a section of Sycamore Street for the event.

A final request also drew full support from council.

The Mars Home for Youth Family Services operates a High Fidelity Wraparound program in Venango County and was seeking a location to hold monthly family team meetings. The non-profit organization was given permission to meet at the Hasson Park pavilion.

Team Foster to be here

Council approved a Team Foster 100 event in the city Nov. 7. Cyclists will travel from Oil City to Pittsburgh as part of a larger event to raise money for service dogs to assist injured and disabled veterans.

The event is in memory of former Oil City resident Capt. Erick Foster, who was killed in action in August 2007 while serving with the Army in Iraq.

Moon said the veteran’s uncle, Robert Kellner, called him to inquire about hosting the bicyclists.

“Yes, we certainly welcome it,” said Moon.