The City of Columbus, Indiana enjoys a vibrant downtown which features a variety of municipal resources lending themselves to use for special events.  Special events require careful coordination between the Applicant/Event Organizer and City resources.  If you are planning a special event in Downtown Columbus, it is essential that you thoroughly review this policy well ahead of the proposed event date.  We look forward to working with you and ask that you follow these rules to ensure that your event goes smoothly and that Downtown Columbus is protected.

For this policy, Downtown Columbus shall be defined as the area bounded by Second Street and Seventh Street and Brown Street and Franklin Street.

Events and programming should enhance commercial and residential vibrancy created by the area’s thriving permanent businesses, apartments and condominiums.  Events must be family-friendly and conducted in a manner that maintains public safety and access for customers, residents and businesses.  The City may allow temporary street closures for such activities when those closures will not negatively impact public safety and access.

The City has created a street festival area along 4th Street, from Jackson Street to Washington Street and from Washington Street to Franklin Street.   The City expects those sections to be the primary focus of activities and events in Downtown Columbus, therefore 4th Street shall be the default closure for street events.

Washington Street is to be considered only when the event has previously been held there, however that is not a guarantee of approval.   As the events on Washington Street cease, no new Washington Street closures will be added, unless an exception is made by the Board of Public Works and Safety (BOW) with a recommendation by the City Engineer.  Final approval by BOW is required

It is the intent of the city to facilitate the public’s right of assembly and the public’s right of free speech, while providing boundaries as to time, place and manner as allowed by law and necessary to protect public safety and access.

It is the purpose of this policy to define parameters under which requests for temporary street closures for community events shall be reviewed.   Except as otherwise provided by law, it shall be unlawful to close any public street, alley, or block traffic unless a Special Event Application/Request for Special Use of Right of Way has been approved by the City of Columbus Board of Public Works and Safety (BOW) in accordance with this policy.

Requests will not be accepted for the following:

1.    Private or family only events;

2.    Events not open to the general public (ticketed or not);

3.    Events that promote illegal activities and violence;

4.    Events that do not support/follow/align with this Special Event Policy;

5.    Events that do not meet the parameters listed in this policy.

NOTE:  The Commons is located in the Downtown Columbus area.  This indoor rental
venue is utilized for private weddings, receptions, conferences, and many other events.
Previously scheduled Commons events will take precedence over conflicting proposed special events.

a.  The Applicant/Event Organizer shall submit a complete Special Event Application to City
1.     At least 45 days (minimum) prior to the date of the proposed Special Event.
2.     No more than 12 months (maximum) prior to the date of the proposed Special Event.

b.    The Special Event Application is valid only for the day(s) specified.  If this is an annual event, a new Special Event Application is required each year.

c.    The information required for a complete Special Event Application can be found below.

d.    A security deposit of $500 is required for a Downtown Columbus Special Event.

a.  The restaurants, bars, venues and attractions located in the defined Downtown Columbus area are the preferred food and beverage providers for Downtown Columbus events.

b.  Events serving food or beverages must place a protective material around and under all equipment/serving areas to prevent spills, staining and/or contamination.  Portable grills and cooking stoves are allowed only in predetermined areas.  Grease and coals must be emptied into secure containers and removed from the venue each day.  If either is found after an event, the entire security deposit will be retained.

a.  After City Engineering receives the submitted Special Event Application, an email notification list will be generated.  The list, along with detailed instructions, will be emailed to the Applicant/Event Organizer.

b.  The Applicant/Event Organizer is required to send a group email with event details to those listed.   City Engineering must be copied.  Comments received by the Applicant/Event Organizer must be forwarded to City Engineering and becomes part of the file.

c.  Notifications must be completed prior to BOW review of the request.

a. Access to existing businesses and residences must be maintained.
b. Provided the appropriate permit is on file, existing businesses must be allowed to continue to operate their outdoor dining areas and outdoor merchandise displays during special events.
c. Pedestrian access to all businesses may not be obstructed without their written consent.
d. No generators, signs, or other equipment shall block the accessibility nor impede the livelihood of any restaurant or retail business, which is normally open for business during the time of the closure, including setup and tear down time.

a.   A minimum 10-foot unobstructed path must be designated on the site plan and maintained on all streets for emergency vehicles access.
b.  A minimum 5-foot unobstructed path must be designated on the site plan and maintained on all streets for persons with disabilities.

a.          The Applicant/Event Organizer shall conduct all activities in such a manner that the health and safety of the public are not negatively impacted.
b.          Public outdoor event content and language must be suitable for all ages.

a. No paint or permanent markings shall be used on asphalt, concrete or bricks.
b. Markings on the streets or People Trails are ONLY allowed with chalk or washable material.
c.  Nails, glue, staples, thumb tacks, tape of any sort, etc. shall not be placed on City property, private property, art displays, trees, signal boxes or light poles at the venue site.

a.  No stakes or penetrations may be made through the asphalt, concrete, bricks or tree grates.

a.  The power outlets are varied between 120 volt and 220 volt.  The outlets are labeled on the map provided and inside each stainless steel electrical box.
b.  Arrangements to access the electrical boxes must be made prior to the event by contacting The Commons Manager at (812) 376-2681.

a.  No Special Event Application shall be approved for state-controlled highways without prior approval from the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT).  b.  It is the Applicant/Event Organizer’s responsibility to contact INDOT at 1-855-463-6848 (1-855 INDOT4U) or

a.  The Applicant/Event Organizer must comply with all applicable Indiana Alcoholic Beverage Laws.

a.  The Applicant/Event Organizer is financially responsible for any and all traffic cones, street barricades, or other traffic control devices utilized for the purpose of securing the event area, whether distributed to the closure site by City Traffic Staff or picked up from the City Traffic Department by the Applicant/Event Organizer or designee.

b.  The 4th Street gates are to be operated by authorized personnel ONLY.  The Applicant/Event Organizer is financially responsible for any costs associated with repairing the gates damaged by unauthorized operation.

a.  The City of Columbus maintains the right to revoke the street closure permit for any violation of the event provisions or in an emergency constituting an imminent threat to life or property.  Whenever the event is conducted in a manner substantially different from that indicated in the application, the event shall be deemed to be automatically revoked with cancellation of approval of the street closure.

a.  The Applicant/Event Organizer must file with the City, a liability insurance policy, or evidence thereof, in the amount of two million dollars ($2,000,000) per occurrence and two million dollars ($2,000,000) aggregate for an event where alcohol is served or where there is “rolling stock”, motorized or not, (bicycle race, parade vehicles, etc.).   For an event where no alcohol is served or there is no “rolling stock”, the applicant must file with the City a liability insurance policy, or evidence thereof, in the amount of one million dollars ($1,000,000) per occurrence and two million dollars ($2,000,000.00) aggregate.  The applicant agrees to provide a “Certificate of Insurance” in the amount required and the City of Columbus, its employees and officials shall be listed as an additional insured and shall include a waiver of subrogation and non-contributory clauses.  The issuing insurance company shall have an A.M. Best rating of B++ or better.

b.  All persons or groups to whom a Special Event Application has been approved  must agree to hold harmless and indemnify the City of Columbus from any and all liability for injury to persons or property occurring as a result of event activity, and agree to be liable to the City for any and all damage to any facility, building, and equipment owned or controlled by the City which results from or is associated with activity whether caused by Applicant/Event Organizer or any participant in said activity.   The Organization and/or Applicant/Event organizer shall maintain liability insurance for the protection of the City of Columbus indemnifying and holding harmless the City from any and all liability that may arise out of the issuance and use of the Special Event Application and also costs of litigation arising out of the issuance and use of said application.

c.  Vendors who provide alcohol and/or amusements for an event shall provide insurance and shall list the City of Columbus as joint insured.

a.  Approval of the Special Event Application may be subject to other conditions that may be specified by the BOW.

a.    Fees may be waived for City Events, City Sponsored Events and closures for Public Safety.

b.    Fees will be deposited into the City of Columbus Streetscape Fund and designated for Downtown Maintenance.

Street or Alley Closure Fees

Any street or alley – per block$50
Parade Fee$100

Electric Fees

Electrical use per day$20

Traffic Department Assistance Fees**

Level One - Traffic Cones and Barricades delivered and dropped at location. Applicant/Event Organizer’s responsibility to place.$25
Level Two - Traffic Cones, and Barricades delivered and set up by (2) DPW employees.$50
Level Three- Traffic Cones, and Barricades delivered and set up by (4) DPW employees.$100
**Traffic Department Assistance Fees are determined by the Traffic Department Supervisor and these fees are not cumulative.

Replacement Fees for Traffic Cones and Barricades***

Small Traffic Cones$ 9
Large Traffic Cones$16
***Replacement Fees are cumulative

PLEASE NOTE: Completion of this application does not guarantee the acceptance nor the approval of the event or the event date.

Once your application is received by City Engineering, a member of the staff will be in touch to discuss your site plan and the specifics outlined in the Downtown Special Event Application Packet.

Downtown Special Event Application

The Applicant/Event Organizer shall provide a detailed site plan to City Engineering.
Base Maps are provided below (PDF format)
a.        Show the placement of vendors, booths, musicians, stages, vehicles and equipment.
b.        Show the 5-foot unobstructed path for use by persons with disabilities.
c.        Show the 10-foot unobstructed path for use by emergency vehicles.
d.       Show the port-o-let locations, if applicable.
e.       Show traffic flow for set-up and tear-down times.
f.        Submit the detailed site plan to

Downtown Base Maps (PDF)

4th & Washington Policy Map Full
4th & Washington Policy Map-NE
4th & Washington Policy Map-NW
4th & Washington Policy Map-SE
4th & Washington Policy Map-SW

The Applicant/Event Organizer shall be responsible for each of the following items below:

a.  Restroom Facilities
The Applicant/Event Organizer is responsible for providing adequate restroom and hand washing facilities as required by the Bartholomew County Health Department.  Failure to do so may result in the loss of the security deposit.

a.i.1   Planned use of The Commons restrooms or restrooms belonging to private businesses  is not an acceptable plan and does not provide an adequate number of facilities.

a.i.2   A minimum of 1 port-o-let per 500 attendees should be a provided.

a.i.3  Port-o-lets must be placed in designated areas as shown on the Detailed Site Plan and approved by City Engineering.

a.i.4  Port-o-lets should be delivered at the latest date and time possible prior to the event, and removed within 24 hours of the close of the event.

a.i.5  Self-Contained hand washing facilities are required if food is served.  Hand washing facilities should be delivered at the latest date and time possible prior to the event, and removed within 24 hours of the close of the event.

b.  Trash Receptacles
 The Applicant/Event Organizer is responsible for providing adequate trash and recycling receptacles for the event.

b.i.1   The use of the existing City trash receptacles is not an acceptable plan. Existing City trash receptacles must be covered up with a trash bag to prevent use.

b.i.2    Please contact the Department of Public Works at 812.376.2508 to formulate a suitable plan.  Failure to do so may result in the loss of the security deposit.

c.  No Parking Signs
The Applicant/Event Organizer is responsible for providing personalized “No Parking” signs.

c.i.1   Event logo or name shall be included on signs.
c.i.2   The date and time of the restriction should be clearly visible on the signs.
c.i.3   The Applicant/Event Organizer is responsible for installing an adequate number of personalized “No Parking” signs.
c.i.4   The personalized “No Parking” signs must be posted AT LEAST 24 hours in advance of the closures.
c.i.5   The Applicant/Event Organizer shall remove all “No Parking” signs at the conclusion of the event.

d.  Additional Permitting
All applicable permits are the responsibility of the Applicant/Event Organizer.
Permits include, but are not limited to:

di.1    Bartholomew County Health Department Event Organizer’s Permit
d.i.2    Indiana State Excise Police Request to Cater
d.i.3    Indiana Homeland Security Entertainment Permit and/or Tent Permit Certification

e.  Contact the City of Columbus Fire Department
The Applicant/Event Organizer must contact CFD to discuss the proposed event and applicable fire code regulations.

e.i.1  Call CFD Administration at (812) 376-2679

f.  Contact the City of Columbus Police Department
The Applicant/Event Organizer must contact CPD to discuss the proposed event.

fi.1   Call the Public Relations Officer at (812) 376-2605.
f.i.2  The Public Relations Officer or assigned designee shall determine whether a police detail shall be required and what fees are due for such detail.
f.i.3  If alcohol is going to be served,  a copy of the excise permit must be provided to CPD.

g.  City of Columbus Spill Response Plan

g.i.1    Review and familiarize yourself  with the City of Columbus Spill Response Plan.
g.i.2    After BOW approval, submit the signed Spill Response Plan to City Engineering, within 15 days.
g.i.3    A spill kit is available from The Commons on-call maintenance staff. Please call (812) 343-9101 if you need the spill kit during your event.
g.i.4    If there is a spill during the event, visit City Engineering on the 1st business day after such event and complete a City of Columbus Spill Report Form.

h.  Event Safety and Security Plan
h.i.1      Review the Downtown Columbus Event Safety and Security Plan.
h.i.2     After BOW approval, submit a completed Downtown Columbus Event Safety and Security Plan to City Engineering, within 15 days.
h.i.3    The Applicant/Event Organizer shall keep a copy on-site during the event.

a. City Engineering staff will notify the Applicant/Event Organizer of the BOW decision.

b. If the Special Event Application is approved, the fee amount will be calculated based on the information in the Special Event Policy.

c. As a courtesy, a HOLD for the event date will be placed on the City Engineering event calendar and will be good for 15 business days

d. The Applicant/Event Organizer has 15 business days to complete the following:

  • Submit the required Street/Alley closure fee to the City Clerk Treasurer’s Office.
  • Submit the required $500 Security Deposit to the City Clerk Treasurer’s Office.
  • Submit the following 5 (five) REQUIRED documents to Engineering.

1.  Paid receipt for the Street/Alley Closure fee.
2.  Paid receipt for the $500 security deposit.
3.  Certificate of Insurance for the required amount.
4.  Signed City of Columbus Spill Response Plan.
5.  Complete Downtown Columbus Event Safety & Security Plan

Both offices are located at City Hall, 123 Washington Street, Columbus, IN

e. These required items must be received within 15 business days to finalize the date.
After 15 business days, courtesy holds will be released without further notice.

f. Within a week of the date being finalized, the Applicant/Event Organizer should contact the City Traffic Department at 812.376.2518 to coordinate the placement, timing and removal of cones and barricades.

It is the responsibility of the Applicant/Event Organizer to safely and effectively restrict the City right of way that was requested and approved for the event. Personalized “No Parking” signs, traffic cones and barricades suitable for traffic control are required for all Special Event right of way closures.

  1. Promptly following the conclusion of the event, the Applicant/Event Manager shall, at no cost to the City, immediately clean up, remove and dispose of all litter or material of any kind, including any spilled liquid wastes from food preparation, which is placed or left on the street because of the event.  The street is to be free of trash, debris and rubbish.
  2. All banners, signs, and other event materials shall be removed from the site.
  3. If the Applicant/Event Organizer neglects or fails to complete the clean up within the (3) three-hour period immediately following the end of the event, or if the cleanup is done in an inadequate manner, the Department of Public Works is authorized to enlist cleanup and charge the Applicant/Event Organizer for said cost.
  4. Fees for clean-up and/or the replacement of traffic cones and barricades are not to exceed the $500 security deposit.
  5. If the Applicant/Event Organizer fails to clean up after one event, the security deposit shall be doubled for each subsequent Special Event Application which lists the same Event/Applicant/Event Organizer.