Friday, June 17, 2011

Creative economy filibuster

Stacking large events in only one neighborhood of a city ends up detracting from the quality of life and success of businesses.

Date: Thu, Jun 16, 2011 at 11:03 AM
Subject: Re: races along Esplanade

To Councilpersons Guidry, Clarkson, Fielkow and Palmer:

I am writing about the proposed use of the Fairgrounds to stage large events in the future. I found out about the idea of allowing the well-respected Susan B. Komen race to start, end and celebrate at the Fairgrounds from a local business owner. Let me say first that I would hope that in the future, your offices would send someone out to actually poll the most severely impacted neighbors, rather than rely completely on input from talking with neighborhood groups that represent a small portion of the active citizenry. I appreciate these are early days, but even better to knock on some doors before things heat up!

Second, I would like to throw my support behind races using City Park as much as possible, as the park needs the revenue badly. As it is a public amenity, it is our responsibility as neighbors to use it, care for it and assist it whenever possible. Although I am in favor of City Park being used for events such as VooDoo Fest, races et al, I also ask the city council to realize that the wear and tear on one set of streets being used for every race is short-sighted and most likely, sooner or later to actually mean a significant business loss for those along the route.
As for the Fairgrounds, the support that it needs was given to it by allowing it gaming (far beyond what the neighborhood wanted) and to be allowed to continue to stage JazzFest and have extended night racing.
I know that I am restricted from going to the French Quarter (where my parents live and so whom I save time on non-tourist packed weekends to see) or to the businesses on Carrollton or anywhere downtown for that matter on all of these weekend days. You may say that the inconvenience is slight, but it would be even more fair if it was shared with Uptown routes or maybe sending some needed life to parts of New Orleans East. Since we have the cache of JazzFest, the Fair Grounds (both racing and gaming) 9 months a year, the Crescent City Classic, the Mardi Gras race, Endymion, I'd be happy to offer other events to the lovely St. Charles route- or maybe using the levee as a race route.

The race track has no barrier between it and neighborhoods like the parks have. I live on its very edge and the lights from night racing and early morning trainings alone shine strongly directly on my porch and noise can be a factor. Certainly traffic (including parking in neighborhoods rather than in lot) and trash are often a factor. However, I have only mildly protested that, because I have felt the race track has been a good neighbor, using its purpose fairly and with some restraint. This of course, is my biggest protest-that the racetrack is thinking of adding more events that have no relation to its purpose and would be out of scale as well.

I ask that your offices take my input and share it with those who are making these decisions. I understand that the race will not happen at the Fairgrounds this year, but I ask you to refrain from changing any language that will allow future decisions to be made without significant public input.


Fortin Avenue

No comments: