Summerfest Street Closure Issue Back in Council
COLUMBIA - Columbia City Council members are expected to take a vote on proposed changes to a city ordinance on street closure requests. This all stems from an issue that started earlier this summer, when 21 downtown business owners signed a petition to urge the council to limit Blue Note owner Richard King (who's in charge of the Summerfest concert series) to holding Summerfest only during weekdays, anywhere from Monday to Wednesday.
The issue gained momentum as the business owners said Summerfest detracts from their business, especially during slower summer days downtown - even though they do agree that bringing concerts downtown overall is a good thing.
Right now the street closure request ordinance only addresses safety and interference with "abutting property." If changed, the ordinance would include more specifics such as prohibiting street closures from being within one-thousand feet of another street closure, unless the original street-use permit holder agrees. The new ordinance would also require there be one open access to businesses within the closed streets.
The Community Improvement District would like the council to hold off on voting on the proposed changes so the public can have more input on the issue.