The United Way of Knox County is allowing new ideas to simmer in terms of how to more appropriately host its annual chili cook-off in this new time of COVID.

United Way executive director Mark Hill on Monday went before members of the city’s Board of Works — he is one himself but abstained from voting — and asked for permission to use the Riverfront Pavilion at Second and Busseron streets and close both First Street and Busseron Street around its edges to allow for even more space.

The plan, he said, is to host the chili cook-off — one of the non-profit’s biggest fundraisers — from 6-10 p.m. Oct. 23 there.

The pavilion would be set up, he said, with 15 cooks on each side, each with a 6-foot table and each of those tables set up three feet apart.

“It’s still our hope that we can have this event outdoors,” he said. “With 15 cooks on either side, we think we’ll have ample room.

“We’ll allow traffic to come in one direction, move down one side, then up the other. We think it will actually be way less congested that way.”

In previous years, the United Way has hosted the chili cook-off both at the Harmony Society and the Vincennes Brewing Company.

Closing First Street, Hill said, would allow for the bar to be set up back there, and closing Busseron Street would allow for a few tables to be set up as well.

“That way we can have some dining tables in case people want to sit down with their chili, socially-distanced, of course,” he said.

The two other board members — Mayor Joe Yochum and Steve Blinn — granted his request.

In other business, board members approved a curb request from Jim Zeigler, co-owner of Ewing Printing Company, 516 Vigo St.

Zeigler asked that they be able to make a curb cut in the employee parking lot directly across Fifth Street from a large, 12-foot overhead door, one they use to pull in semis and large trailers for customized work.

Maneuvering semis into the building given the tight space, he said, is usually impossible. The curb cut would allow for more room.

“This way, we’d be able to get a semi into that building or a great big long trailer,” he said. “Right now, we have to do that work outside, but we’d like to be able to move them inside, especially with winter approaching.”

Zeigler said that area of the curb is painted yellow anyway, so no public street parking would be lost as a result.

And city engineer John Sprague gave the curb cut request a favorable recommendation, the mayor reported.

“So you’re good to go,” Yochum said.

Cathy Bush with Hope’s Voice, an organization dedicated to helping victims of domestic violence, also received permission Monday to hang purple ribbons up and down Main Street and along the Riverwalk to recognize October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

And the board approved a new workman’s compensation policy for the City of Vincennes, one at a cost of $90,052 per year, which is about $8,000 less than this year, the mayor said.

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