While DeWitt DeWeese Park across from the public library may still be the venue for festivals such as OctoberFest, retail and yard sales are now prohibited, following action last week by the Mayor and Board of Aldermen.

The board voted unanimously to adopt a written policy for the park in the wake of what the mayor described as an embarrassing incident on Oct. 13 when members of a chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star were forced by police to shut down a yard sale fundraiser at the urging of Alderman-at-Large Janice Payne.

The group appeared before the Mayor and Board of Aldermen on Oct. 16, demanding to know why they were run out by police when they had obtained permission from City Hall to have the sale in the park.

Spokespersons Natalie Woodward and Carrie Bennett of the Order of the Eastern Star, G.C. Wells #448 Chapter asked the board at that meeting why their fundraiser was shut down after being open only for three hours.

Woodward said the fundraiser, in the form of a yard sale, was similar to one held to benefit St. Jude Children's Hospital a few weeks earlier in the park, across from the public library.

The park incident ended after the group called Mayor James Young to clear up the matter.

Mayor Young told aldermen last week that a policy needed to be adopted to govern the usage of DeWeese Park.

"I wanted to clarify some issues at this meeting to make sure we do not have any more issues about use of the park," Mayor Young said. "We don't want to go through that embarrassment again."

After being questioned by aldermen, Young noted that standard events, like Monday's Veterans Day program, would not require approval.

"Those are standard festivals, standard memorials that we do down there," he said.

Under the new policy, only festivals and city sponsored events will be allowed in the park at no charge on a first come basis.

The policy also allows for "other special events" in the park to have prior approval by the Board of Aldermen.

In other action, aldermen:

• Approved a variance to allow a business to operate at 457 Pecan Ave. in the former location of the Potting Shed.

• Paid $2,997.80 to Waggoner Engineering for professional services in the month of September on the FY12 Runway and Apron Rehabilitation at the airport.

• Authorized the city clerk to open a checking account at the Citizens Bank for the Water and Sewer Grant and allow the city clerk to close the account when the project is completed.

• Paid travel expenses and registration fees for the city clerk to attend a conference concerning the 2013 municipal election Dec. 12-14 in Jackson.

• Paid $5,100 to Allen & Hoshall for professional services on the 2012 Water and Sewer Improvement Grant.

• Closed the Waterworks & Sewer-2003 Interest & Sinking bank account and the 1999 Refunding Electric bank account at Regions Bank and reopened the accounts at Cadence Bank. This was due to fees being charged to these accounts at Regions, aldermen said.

• Paid $111,521.61 to Delta Constructors for work performed on the 2012 Water and Sewer Improvements project after receiving approval from East Central Planning and Development District.

• Authorized Assistant Police Chief Julian Greer to attend the chief's conference in Olive Branch Dec. 9-13 and pay travel expenses. The cost of the conference is $250 and four nights stay at the rate of $89 a night.

• Authorized DUI officer Eric Lyons and Patrolman Justin McDill to attend a S.T.O.R.M. conference in Vicksburg Nov. 6-8.