Downtown Carbondale events to see review committee
July 22, 2010
CARBONDALE – A new review committee will consider downtown Carbondale events and seasonal attractions such as the Wednesday farmer’s markets, following complaints by some businesses about street closures, noise and competition from street vendors.
The committee, made up of business representatives, the local chamber of commerce and tourism board members, and town recreation officials, will be responsible for reviewing event applications, and deciding whether to approve them and with what conditions.
Up until about seven years ago, most special events were held in Sopris Park. However, following complaints by neighbors about having too many park events, and with the completion of the downtown Fourth Street Plaza, several events were moved downtown, Carbondale Recreation Director Jeff Jackel explained in the memo to Town Council members.
This was also seen as a way to draw more people to downtown and serve as a form of economic development for some of the retail businesses and restaurants.
However, several business owners have complained that the events sometimes have a negative effect.
Concerns have included the fact that some events require closing Main Street, which can make it hard for people to get to businesses, as well as the presence of retail and food vendors associated with the events that create extra competition for the existing, established businesses.
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Frank Zlogar, one of the organizers of the Wednesday daytime farmer’s market, said they’ve worked hard to improve the market over the years, including the addition of hot food vendors.
“It has been very successful this year,” Zlogar said at the Tuesday night Town Council meeting when the issue was discussed. “It brings in hundreds of people to the downtown that otherwise wouldn’t be there.”
This summer, the town recreation department also added the Wednesday evening Main Street Market and Artist Bazaar, as a way to extend the street market into the evening for those who can’t make the daytime market.
“Many communities around the country look at special events as the driving force in their local economy and as the keystone of their tourism industry,” Jackel wrote in his report.
For lack of any other organization to take the lead, Jackel’s department has acted as the scheduling agency and served as the referral agency.
“We are trying to do what’s best for the town as a whole,” Mayor Stacey Patch Bernot said during the Tuesday meeting. “But I think we have a bit of a hangover from too many events.”