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Saugatuck settles lawsuit, will allow buskers on sidewalks this tourist season


A couple musicians who sued the city of Saugatuck over its entertainment policy will return to play this summer.

Today a federal judge okayed a settlement between Saugatuck and two musicians who want to play music for tips on city sidewalks. The policy at issue required buskers to get a permit, and it was only allowed in parks, not sidewalks. As part of the settlement, the city won’t enforce the rule.

Saugatuck’s small sidewalks are packed with summer tourists. City manager Kirk Harrier worried entertainers could clog sidewalks even more. He just wants to make sure everyone’s safe.

“There are ways to achieve this and everybody can hopefully get along,” Harrier said.

Harrier says they’ll work on a compromise rule this spring. He says it’ll likely restrict the time of day people can play and the noise level.

The two musicians will get $7,500 dollars each in the deal.

“They’re both very talented, gifted musicians and I think most people will be excited to see them back,” ACLU attorney Michael Steinberg said. He represented the two. He says the policy violated the musicians’ free speech rights.

Lindsey Smith helps lead the station's Enterprise Team. She previously served as Michigan Radio’s Morning News Editor, Investigative Reporter and West Michigan Reporter.
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