By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
LINCOLN PARK – Anxiety Alley is stressing city officials as they try to navigate the legal and liability minefield of the city’s annual haunted house, on which many local non-profits rely for fundraising.
City Manager Matt Coppler reported at the Sept. 18 City Council meeting that if Anxiety Alley is a city-sponsored event, there are things the city must do to be in compliance with auditing and financial accounting perspectives.
“It is something that we really can’t bend the rules on, because it could get us into trouble, and we don’t want that,” Coppler said. “Secondarily, and not to minimize those, are the insurance fees.”
Coppler said that while the city is insured, if there were an accident at Anxiety Alley it would have an impact on the city, and city officials need to be aware of that.
He said that just as non-profit groups run activities and benefit from them on city property during events like Lincoln Park Days, he thinks that allowing non-profits to run the haunted house on city property allows the city to remove itself from the potentially problematic accounting issues.
“We cannot give money to private groups,” Coppler said. “It’s not permitted. And so if you want it to stay the same, where money can be given out to private groups, it would have to go through a not-for-profit and not through the city. That is the sticky issue that we do not want to be a part of.”
Coppler said groups would need to fill out an event application and provide the city with proof of insurance.
The city also would seek a local business to move the haunted house semi-trailers from storage to the event site. During the council meeting, word reached officials that an entity capable of the task had volunteered to move the Anxiety Alley semi-trailers.
It was noted that the sprinkler fire suppression system in the trailers needs to be compliant.
Department of Public Services Director John Kozuh said the electrical box, which was damaged during Lincoln Park Days, needs to be repaired before Anxiety Alley opens.
“When the carnival group left, it was torn up a little bit,” Kozuh said. “They jumpered it to get higher voltage out of it, but that’s just the rumor mill on that one.”
Kozuh said he would get the electrical box repaired as soon as he was given a purchase order from Coppler.
(Sue Suchyta can be reached at [email protected].)