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Mayor: Oktoberfest is “necessary step into the future.”
Mayor Tom Tomzak sent out this letter this morning to City Council members about the downtown debate over Oktoberfest. He writes a little about the fact that after Caroline Street merchants were told about the plans to close a block of the street for Oktoberfest back in July, objections were raised about the location.
I pondered the situation. First, I looked at the needs of the City regarding revenue. We are soon entering the toughest time of the year – when we all want to enhance the quality of life in the City, pay for core services and not raise taxes. Second, we desire to increase pedestrian traffic. The street is owned and maintained by the citizens of Fredericksburg. I concluded that the best interest of the City required the event to move forward and I suggested that the merchant proceed.
He also talks about the need for downtown venues to host special events, and the proposed development of the riverfront park.
Where is the organized public support from the downtown merchants on the River Front, which would almost certainly be a benefit to them?
In response to that, Rob Grogan, the city liaison for Downtown Retail Marketing Inc., sent out another e-mail saying DRMI supports the riverfront park plans (That is not a unanimous view among downtown merchants.). Grogan wrote:
DRMI’s Board of Directors will discuss how to implement its marketing plans to include the river front park when it is completed, and will help prepare our membership for the opportunities the river front will afford them to enhance their businesses and attract new customers. With those objectives in mind, we fully support the concept and intentions of the river front park and look forward to its completion.
Look for more in the paper this weekend about the ongoing discussion about special events, which have been a core component of other downtowns’ revitalization.