Letter: Merchants be aware of Mumford plans
Bruce A McGuire
St Augustine, FL
Last night I attended a meeting held by the Uptown group to discuss the ramifications of the Mumford Concert. It was very enlightening. The first 30 minutes were “glowing generalities” about how great it will be and how the city will learn from the event and how the merchants will get repeat visitors down the road.
No real meat was presented until people started asking questions, then there appeared to be a lot of “unknowns”.
Several things are obvious to me. I believe the city is trying to do the best it can, but the planning doesn’t seem to include all the residents. The marketing potential is tremendous, but the problems associated with it are also tremendous, and we all need to plan.
Does any merchant on King Street know that the downtown area will be completely closed to vehicle traffic from 8:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m. on Friday and Saturday night? The City still does not have everything coordinated and tied down. Street and neighborhood restrictions and closures are a prime example.
Second, the shuttle system will operate from the airport to the concert and back. Prior to 8:00 p.m., traffic flow north of Orange Street is being discussed to eliminate problems for the San Marco merchants. I did not hear anyone from the City mention traffic flow down King Street.
Third, after the concert is over (around 10:00 pm or later), upwards of 25,000 people will be walking the streets of downtown St. Augustine and San Marco Ave. No attempt is being made to encourage them to go to the King Street area.
My analysis: King Street is completely left out of the scenario.
I have asked Mark Litzinger and his city group to speak to the King Street group next Thursday at 6:30 p.m. We can meet at the Whetstone Factory or the Butterfield Garage. Please pass the word.
Also, go onto the city website. Click on the Tour icon and the “Frequently Asked Questions for Merchants“. That will give you a little idea of what’s going on.