CLEVELAND - Social media was buzzing Thursday night and all day Friday about a Cleveland-based food truck's push for a place to park downtown.
Owned by Chris Hodgsen, ‘Dim and Den Sum' is a food truck that has used Twitter and Facebook to get the word out about its daily location. But the tweets from the business' main account ( @DimAndDenSum ) were of a different tone Thursday night.
"we need dt fixed, well be outta business in 3 weeks if we can't come dt. Please help us!" posted Hodgsen on Twitter.
The post was directed at Cleveland city councilman Joe Cimperman and many of the food truck's 3,200+ followers. Angry tweets ensued.
The issue is that current city law does not have any provisions for food truck parking in downtown areas, where Hodgsen said most of his business is generated.
All of the hype generated by Din and Den Sum and followers wasn't ignored by the city or Cimperman – in fact, the response was rapid.
Cimperman immediately responded to Dim and Den Sum, saying council is working on it, but it has to go through the process.
An ordinance allowing for food truck parking was actually introduced at a February 16 city council meeting. The process requires it to go through six different committees -- Public Service, Public Safety, Legislation, Health, CD/ED, City Planning and Finance – before it can become law. It's expected to be voted on the first week of May.
Cleveland City Council posted a message on its Facebook page explaining the process:
"Councilman Cimperman took initiative to start this legislation. He & council are not against it. Ord. 210-11 was introduced & begins committee hearings on 4/18 w/ a vote first week in May. There is not a ban on the trucks, but until passed, they must follow procedures the hot dog cart vendors use. Food truck vendors may contact Councilman Cimperman in the mean time & he will work with them for temporary solutions."
According to Cimperman, the proposed legislation allows for food truck parking anywhere on East 9th Street and the CSU campus as pilots.
There isn't currently a ban on the trucks, but the process isn't simple for the ever-growing number of food trucks.
"At this point, they must follow same steps as a hot dog cart vendor must do. We're working on setting up guidelines to make it easier for them," said James Kopniske, Communications Director for Cleveland City Council.
Dim and Den Sum is one of more than a half-dozen food trucks operating in the Cleveland area. The popularity of the trucks has grown tremendously over the last year, and a recent low-profile gathering of some of the trucks in Tremont brought out more than 1,000 people on a cold Sunday afternoon.