PIQUA — A resident came forward during the Piqua City Commission meeting Tuesday evening to speak out against performer David Allan Coe, who is scheduled to appear during Piqua BikeFest, according to their advertising. The resident denounced Coe’s songs as “racist.”
“I’m aware of Coe’s vile, racist, homophobic, and misogynistic songs from when I lived in Alabama during the 1980s,” Joe Hinds of Piqua said.
Hinds said that Coe may no longer perform those songs in public, but Hinds objected to Coe’s “Underground” CD and other CDs being sold on Coe’s website. Those CDs include such song titles as “Kajun KKK,” including multiple uses of the n-word in lyrics like, “Ship those n****** back,” along with several graphic sexual innuendos. Hinds objected to Piqua BikeFest supporting a performer who also profits from the message of those CDs.
“Whether he performs these songs or not, he certainly has a reputation which is stained by them and they’re popular with his fan base,” Hinds said. “He is clearly still profiting from and promoting these recordings.”
Hinds asked the commission to take Coe’s “Underground” songs into consideration “and see if you agree that there is no place in Piqua, Ohio, at a public event for the vile message of David Allan Coe.”
Hinds suggested that this was a timely request considering the recent attack and violence in Charlottesville, Va., on Aug. 11 and 12.
Commissioner John Martin asked Hinds if these are the songs that Coe will be performing at Piqua BikeFest. Hinds said that he did not know and that he had never been to a Coe concert.
“If he got up and sang gospel, would you still reproach (Coe)?” Martin asked.
Hinds did not respond.
City Attorney Stacy Wall interjected and said that the city reached out to one of the organizers of Piqua BikeFest, who said that he was not aware of who Coe was or that Coe was a scheduled performer.
“He also said that he promotes BikeFest as a community event and that if this performer is like that, that he would agree that he’s not a community type performer,” Wall said.
Mayor Kazy Hinds, while stressing that this controversy is “nothing against BikeFest,” said, “For our community and for it to be a community event, everybody needs to feel welcome, and our African American citizens would not.”
Mayor Hinds went on to say, “After what happened in Charlottesville, we need to remember we are in this together, and no matter the color of our skin, no matter where we come from, we are one as a community. If there’s anything we do that’s going to make one of our community members to feel ostracized, I believe we should not do it, because, as a city, we’re a city of a diverse group of people and that’s one of the beauties of who we are.”
As for the amount of say the city and the commission have in the event, Wall said that the agreement the city had with BikeFest organizers is that “the city would be consulted.”
City Manager Gary Huff added that he has to take into consideration the “safety and welfare” of residents when issuing permits to events using public spaces.
Commission awards $42M contract
The commission awarded a contract to Peterson Construction Company for the expansion and upgrades of the Wastewater Treatment Plant during their meeting. The cost of the contract is not to exceed $42,314,738, which inclues a 5 percent contingency.
The expansion and upgrades of the Wastewater Treatment Plant will treat sanitary sewer overflow (SSO), or untreated wastewater that overflows into the Great Miami River, which is being required by the Ohio EPA. The improvements will also be able to treat harmful algae blooms.
The project will begin as soon as possible and will be completed within 33 months.
Next, the commission tabled a resolution to award a contract to CDM Smith for the construction administration and applications engineering for the Wastewater Treatment Plant improvement project. Huff said that they are still working out contract details. The contract is not to exceed $5,445,400.
The commission then authorized an agreement with Bowser-Morner, Inc. for the testing and observation services for the Wastewater Treatment Plant improvement project. The contract is not to exceed $335,008.
Flooding in Shawnee to be addressed
Improvements to the Shawnee Neighborhood storm sewer system were also approved during the commission meeting. The commission approved awarding a contract to Milcon Concrete Incorporated for the construction of the improvements. The improvements are expected to reduce flooding within the Shawnee area.
The contract for the project is not to exceed $350,396. The project will be funded with $10,396 from an Ohio Public Works Commission (OPWC) loan and $340,000 from a Community Development Block Grant.
The project is expected to last six weeks, beginning the first week of September.
Following that resolution, the commission tabled a resolution awarding a contract to Strand Associates for the construction management of the Shawnee Neighborhood storm sewer system improvement project. The resolution was tabled in order to receive clarification on language in Strand Associates’ contract.
Reach Sam Wildow at email@example.com or (937) 451-3336