Keeping Main Street open
CARBONDALE, Colorado – An appointed town special events committee is recommending Main Street only be closed to traffic for two downtown events this year, and that such closures not occur on consecutive weekends.
The two events recommended for street closures are the Rocky Mountain Omnium bicycle criterium race, which has indicated it wants to return to Carbondale in June, and the annual Light Up Carbondale holiday celebration in December.
Other events that in the past have required street closures have either been moved to other locations or modified.
And in the case of the annual Valley Cruisers Car Show, organizers will be asked to consider locations other than Main Street, according to Carbondale Recreation Director Jeff Jackel.
Jackel worked with the committee, which was made up of downtown business owners and local chamber and tourism representatives. It was formed last summer after some business owners complained about the frequency of street closures for various special events.
Especially after Main Street was closed for two straight weekends last June for the bike race and the car show, those concerns were aired before the Carbondale Board of Trustees.
Trustees appointed the committee to review applications for events requesting street closures and to recommend which ones to allow and under what conditions.
In recent years, following the completion of the Fourth Street pedestrian plaza downtown, a number of annual events were moved downtown from nearby Sopris Park.
The move was seen as a way to draw more pedestrians onto Main Street who might visit retail businesses and restaurants. However, some business owners have complained that the events sometimes have a negative effect when people who aren’t interested in the event itself have a hard time accessing the area.
But the committee thought the bike race, in particular, has the potential to become a large annual event that could be a huge tourism draw, Jackel said.
Rain kept a lot of the spectators away last year, but the event still drew a large number of people from the Front Range and elsewhere around the region, he said.
“The organizers indicated that the course was ideal for this type of race, and having it in the downtown business district added a lot of excitement,” Jackel said. “The committee felt that, with the potential exposure the bike race had for the town, and the marketing exposure, it was important to accommodate them.”
The committee also recommends closing Main Street for the holiday lighting event, when there’s a bonfire and caroling at the Fourth Street Plaza and an emphasis on holiday gift shopping downtown.
As for the car show, the option of displaying the cars along Fourth Street on either side of Main is one option, Jackel said. One of the town’s shopping center owners has also said he would be open to hosting the car show on his property.
Other recommendations from the committee included that access to sidewalks and alleys must be maintained during special events, that streets not be closed for private parties, and that event organizers provide volunteers or event personnel to direct people to public parking areas to let motorists know that businesses are open.
The recommendations are to be presented to the town council later this month, Jackel said.
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