Historic City News reporters learned, with little surprise, that the unanimous decision of the St Augustine City Commission would be to ban buskers and street performances on Hypolita Street all together — from St. George Street to Avenida Menendez; the new ordinance 2013-16 will take effect in 10-days.
Donald Crichlow, appointed to fill the unexpired term of his protégé Bill Leary, made tonight’s motion after hearing public comment, in person and in written communications from the two major sightseeing tour operators whose vehicles travel the street as part of their regular daily route.
Both Ripley’s Red Trains and Historic Tours of America’s Old Town Trolley expressed concern for the distraction and congestion caused on the narrow street by performers, particularly at the tour stop located at the intersection of St George Street and Hypolita Street across from Columbia Restaurant. Kim Kiff told reporters, “it’s a safety hazard”, and Dave Chatterton agreed.
Commissioner Roxanne Horvath agreed; saying that the narrow sidewalks at Hypolita and St George streets are “dangerous for pedestrians”.
The point-man for bringing the complaints forward and asking the city to extend the existing ban on performers on the west end of the street to include the entire length of the roadway to Avenida Menendez, is Ray Dominey; who, with his wife Jessie, has operated St Augustine Photographic Art, Inc., “Get Your Photos on Canvas” since 2006.
Dominey operates his business on the first floor of Casa Del Hildago; a building once owned by the country of Spain and now owned by the City of St Augustine — Dominey’s landlords.
Crichlow told fellow commissioners that “removing the vendors completely from Hypolita” was “the only way” to resolve the matter; which he says has been a constant problem since 2002. Commissioner Leanna Freeman disagreed that the ordinance was “the only way” to stop the problem; but, agreed to support it, anyway.