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County Draws Line On Freedom Hill Parking Dispute

(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Macomb County, Michigan, plans to raise it rates and pocket all proceeds for parking at county-sponsored events at the Freedom Hill Amphitheatre this year.

For the past five years, Macomb County has relied on Hillside Productions Inc., which operates the venue at the county-owned Freedom Hill County Park, to collect parking fees during county events. As compensation, Hillside kept 75 percent of the parking revenues at county events such as Harley Fest, and the Italian and Polish festivals.

This week, Macomb County took a stand when the Parks Commission voted unanimously for the rate increase and a new method of collecting the money.

“We sent a clear message that residents of the county, as well as Freedom Hill County Park, won’t be bullied anymore,” Commissioner Phil DiMaria told the Detroit News. “We will start collecting all parking fees for our events and keeping all of the proceeds.”

A Hillside spokesman told the paper that company officials were “shocked” by the commission’s decision to treat county-sponsored events differently from shows at the amphitheater, since all parking revenues have historically been pooled together, and split the same way for years.

Hillside has recently entered into an agreement with Palace Sports & Entertainment to create a single management group for the theater, but the deal will not be finalized until the new company, PSE Hillside, receives approval for a liquor license.

Residents in the area hope the agreement with PS&E will help lead to a better working relationship between the theater operation and the locals. Hillside has had a tumultuous relationship with Sterling Heights residents for years. –by CelebrityAccess Staff Writers