Use of City Parks for Events

Over the past few years, there have occasionally been incidents where people have had public events on city property without getting the proper permits.  The City parks are there for our residents to use.  We encourage you to enjoy everything that Middletown has to offer.  The permits are designed for safety of the public and to protect the organizers and the City from liability from people that may be injured at the event.  When people are planning their event, they often forget the little things like where people are going to park and how the event may impact traffic, whether there needs to be crowd control of any kind due to the large number of people attending, etc.

The Special Activity permit lets the City know that your event is occurring and let’s Parks, Public Safety and other Departments know the type and scope of the event so they can plan accordingly to handle any potential issues that may arise.   The purpose is to protect you as the organizer and the public.  Keep in mind as a taxpayer, if someone has a large event without the proper permits and insurance and someone is seriously hurt, the City would be sued along with the organizers, and any liability payment would be made with your tax dollars.  We want to avoid the injury with proper planning and to protect the public and taxpayers with proper liability insurance before the event takes place.

In general, there are two questions to determine whether or not you need a Special Activity permit for your event.  First, is the event on City owned property such as the City building plaza, a public park, or in the streets or right of way?   Second, is the event open to the public?  If the answer to both is yes, you will need to obtain a Special Activity permit.

Examples of the types of events requiring a permit include a festival at a city park, parades on city streets, a concert at Governor’s Square, a 5K run on city streets or in a park, a car show on a city owned parking lot, a youth activity program at a park, sports team tryouts at a city park, or an organized basketball/volleyball tournament at a city park.

Examples of events that typically do not require a City permit would include events on school district property (You would get the school district’s permission here), a family, church, or company picnic at a park that is not open to the general public, a wedding on city property, or a youth sports practice at a park on an intermittent basis.

If you have a question whether or not your activity requires a permit, it’s easier to ask us for help before the event than to have your event shut down later because you didn’t follow the proper procedures.  The last thing we want to do is stop people from having events in our parks.  If you have questions, please contact Nicole Clark in Public Works at 513-425-1860.

The Special Activity permit can be downloaded at

There are time frames in applying for the permit.  When we receive late permit applications, it costs us overtime, (and you as a taxpayer extra dollars) to properly prepare for the event.  We may have to bring in an extra crew to mow the park or to set up the Showmobile.  Police officers may have to be called in on overtime for traffic or crowd control.  With proper timing, we can often handle these additional event items during our normal day without OT.  If your event requires liability insurance, you must submit the insurance certificate before the event and you must name the City as an additional insured party on the policy.  Without the insurance, we must shut the event down to protect the City from liability exposure.

Whether your event is private or public, and whether or not you will need a Special Activity permit, you will also want to keep the following items in mind when planning your event:

If you are selling food, to get the proper application and requirements, please contact the Health Department at 425-1818.  Applications for food licenses must be submitted and approved by the Health Department 5 days prior to the event.

If you need to hire off-duty police officers, please contact Police Administration at 425-7756.

If you have questions regarding the use of tents or other temporary structures, please contact the Building Inspection Division at 425-7973 and the Fire Division at 425-7996.  A separate permit is required for tents over 200 square feet.  This permit can be obtained at the  Building Inspection Divsion on the third floor of the City building.  They will need a sketch of the site showing the location of the tents and the flame retardant certificate when applying for the permit.  Tent stake locations should be marked in white paint one week prior to the event.  Please contact OUPS (Ohio Utilities Protection Service) at -800-362-2764 for utility locations at least three working days before the tent is to be erected.  None of us want your event cancelled because we hit a gas line setting up the tent!

If you wish to block streets for your event, please contact Public Works at 425-1897.

If you are going to use electric generators or electrical services, please contact the Building Inspection Division at 425-7973.

If you wish to advertise your event with signs or banners, please contact the Planning Department at 425-7922.  Please remember that signs and banners cannot block the view for traffic or block the pedestrian right of way from passage.

I’ve given you a lot of information here.  Bottom line is that we want you to have events and to use your parks to the fullest extent possible.  We are here to help you plan so that your event goes off without incident and so that all organizers and attendees have a great and safe time.

Talk to you all again soon!

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