Businessman man wants to bring his fire and ice to Venice

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Posted: Thursday, August 21, 2014 3:34 pm

VENICE, Fla. -- A Venice man has a unique plan to bring some cool treats to city streets. It's an ice cream truck like you've never seen.

Problem is, the City of Venice hasn't allowed mobile vendors in decades. But that could change.

"This is a 1973 Cushman Truckster." For the past 15 months, Venice resident Craig Della Vedova, Sr. has spent countless hours and $15,000 turning the old meter maid car into a replica fire/ice cream truck.

Something he calls Ice Cream to the Rescue. "It's overwhelming. Everywhere I go with it, people are taking pictures and saying good luck."

He's got all the requirements needed and has started bringing the delicious drumsticks and choco-taco treats to county streets. But the City of Venice is a little cooler to the idea. "It's different in the city. I need a city permit for Venice, the island."

The city has a statute on the books allowing mobile vendors, but hasn't let anyone roll in. "They haven't had anything, I don't think, since 1978."

"The reaction was a little bit negative." Venice Vice Mayor Emilio Carlesimo says in the past there've had concerns. "Some of the merchants didn't like the competition, number one. Number two, there was a public safety issue with the roadway."

Another concern is something that ice cream trucks tend to come with: that music.

"It's used to attract children, but in a retirement community like ours it seemed to upset a lot of residents," says Carlesimo.

"I wouldn't play that because it would drive me crazy," says Della Vedova.

He has submitted a business plan in hopes of changing minds. "Not going to go anywhere near downtown, because there are already three or four ice cream parlors that cater to everyone that needs ice cream there."

Carlesimo says the truck is different and they may be willing to take a bite. "Personally I am intrigued by the idea, and I think it is something we have to explore."

Della Vedova has even started a petition, hoping his unique concept blending fire and ice can turn the city into a popsicle paradise. "It allows character in the area, and allows people to see creativity."

ABC 7 is told city staff is currently reviewing the application and could make a recommendation soon.

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