Is Carbondale partied out?
CARBONDALE, Colorado ” There’s a growing concern among some Carbondale trustees that the town may have reached its limit when it comes to special events and celebrations, including some promoted by the town itself.
Moreover, the nature of some events where the serving of beer and wine is a central draw, and where activities oriented to families and children are scarce, may not be an image the town government wants to endorse.
“I think some of these events encourage behavior that we maybe don’t want to be encouraging,” Trustee Pam Zentmyer expressed during a discussion of upcoming town events this year at a Tuesday work session this week.
Her sentiments were echoed by other members of the town board. A broader discussion will likely be scheduled on a future agenda where trustees intend to review the town’s policies regarding special events that use public facilities.
“There is some question whether some of these events are appropriate for town sponsorship,” Mayor Michael Hassig said in a follow-up interview this week.
“It’s something we haven’t really dealt with in a comprehensive way, because a lot of these events come to us one at a time, and often in the context of whether or not a special event liquor license is required.”
Precipitating this week’s discussion was a town staff recommendation during a March 10 special events liquor license review against closing a portion of Main Street for a Carbondale Clay Center fundraiser in late May.
Recreation director Jeff Jackel said the recommendation to allow Main Street to be closed to traffic for only one event this year, the June 5-6 Valley Cruisers Car Show, stemmed from conversations suggesting that the street closures for events may be hurting rather than helping some downtown businesses.
Trustees allowed the Main Street closure for the Clay Center’s planned La Dolce Vita event, but are inclined to draw the line on future requests.
“We have heard from businesses … that when Main Street is closed, it has prevented people from being able to stop in,” Jackel said.
“Personally, from what I’ve seen, and from what others have told me, it’s helped other businesses,” he added.
This week, Jackel presented a list of 21 events for this coming year that require town board approval for use of public facilities; 10 of which are asking for a license to serve beer and wine.
The town’s own Oktoberfest celebration will be moved from Fourth Street to somewhere near the new recreation center, so that more kids activities can be offered in addition to the adult events in the beer tent, he said.
Said Hassig, “We want to encourage community engagement and celebration. But we may have passed the point of an appropriate number.”
He said the situation is similar to what happened in Telluride a few years ago.
“They really struggled with the fact that they had a lot of really popular events, but some locals pushed back and said it was too much,” Hassig said. “I don’t think we’ve gotten to that, but it is something that we as trustees need to be sensitive to.”
Contact John Stroud: 384-9160
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