The Garden Brothers Circus show did go on at Little Falls’ Exchange Arena Monday night despite issues ranging from last minute approval from the Little Falls City Council and questions over everything from the Circus’ track record to what it would do in the event of an emergency.
At a special meeting Monday at 1 p.m., Councilmember Leif Hanson opened the Council’s discussion with an issue about an email sent from the circus to the city.
Hanson said this email said it was up to the Council to approve this and not disappoint the children in town.
“We decide if it goes on, and we’re the bad guy?” Hanson said. “It is your organization’s lack of planning that caused us to be sitting here for a special meeting.”
Hanson said this put the onus on the city when the circus should have gotten the permit and information in on time.
“I’m likely to vote for this, but I’m really not happy,” Hanson said.
The issue came from a city ordinance saying if a local organization is sponsoring a circus, it doesn’t need a permit. State law, however, City Administrator Jon Radermacher said, requires a permit to be issued in all cases, something the city was unaware of and will amend in the future.
Hanson said if the circus had gotten all of its information in and applied for a permit May 12, when it decided to hold a circus in town, this could have been properly vetted.
Mayor Greg Zylka said this email was concerning to him as it could mean the circus would give poor customer service to the community.
Exchange Arena Manager Mike Corrow said he felt some of this may have been his fault as he was unaware of the state statute requiring a permit for the circus, and that other circuses have gone unpermitted in the past.
“I’ll be honest, I have never applied for or gotten a permit to do it,” Corrow said. “I didn’t give them some of that input right up front.”
Corrow apologized to the Council for the issue and said he would look at this earlier next year for other circuses.
Hanson said it wasn’t up to Corrow to know what a circus needs to operate.
Another issue was brought up, this time by City Attorney Antoinette Wetzel, about what animals were in the circus and what plans were there to deal with incidents.
“What security measures are in place if these elephants go rogue and start stampeding through the arena?” Wetzel asked.