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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Show Goes On

Circus granted building permit.


Visitors near a tiger in a cage.Credit CherylAnn Fernandes

By Denise Buffa0

6.14.2011

After barring the circus from opening Monday, city officials have granted a building permit to Cole Bros. Circus, allowing them to open Tuesday and Wednesday at the mall.
Although a circus official concedes that an animal-rights' group's complaints that a camel and the public were too close, prompting circus workers to further separate the two, officials from the circus and city both said the building permit denial had nothing to do with the animals.
The denial of the permit stemmed from concerns about the safety of the big-top tent, which holds more than 1,000 visitors, officials said.
Railings had to be put up, chairs had to be secured, exits had to be accessible, and an extra engineer had to confirm an original engineer's determination that the tent was safe, according to officials.
"We've made everybody happy," the circus' Tim Orris, who is in charge of obtaining permits for the show.
Milford's director of permitting and land use, Jocelyn Mathiasen, noted that the city officials had expressed concerns about the big tent last month, but said the circus didn't respond to the concerns until last week.
"I was very disappointed that we weren't able to get the permit on time," Mathiasen said.
Politically, it would've been easy to grant a permit, according to Mathiasen. But the public's safety, especially in light of a historic 1944 circus fire in Hartford where more than 150 people died, was the city's ultimate concern, she said.
"We need to make sure that all buildings and temporary structures are safe," Mathiasen said.
Meanwhile, four to five animal rights activists showed up at the Westfield Shoppingtown/Connecticut Post Mall on Monday and complained a camel was too close to the public, according to Orris. So circus workers, deeming it a valid complaint, rectified the matter, Orris said.
"They made sure no one was getting near any of the animals," he said. "If someone comes up with a legitimate complaint, we address it."
Orris could not say how much money the circus may have lost Monday, when it was prohibited from putting on two shows because the city refused to grant a building permit.
The show is ready to start, Orris said.

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