Mountain Fair Main Street closure unlikely
Carbondale residents fell in love with a vehicle-free Main Street during a recent downtown celebration, but it’s doubtful the affair will re-ignite at Mountain Fair.On Tuesday, the Downtown Preservation Association turned down a proposal to close Main Street for the annual end-of-July fair.”One concern from businesses is that it would probably hurt more than help,” said association co-chairman Ron Robertson.Linda Roomer Criswell, a Carbondale resident, recently presented the association with a letter outlining the benefits to closing Main Street in the downtown area during Mountain Fair. She said the closure would:-Provide guests with a quiet, peaceful alternative to the fair.-Assure safety of pedestrians from traffic on Main Street.-Show off the “beautiful” new Main Street improvements.”It was an interesting idea,” Robertson said. “But we would lose 60 parking places. … There was more negative than positive with the idea.”Robertson said some businesses rely on customers’ ability to pull up in front of their establishments in their vehicles during the busy celebration, which this year is July 26-28.”We agreed we can talk about this in the future,” Robertson said, leaving the door open to reconsider the idea for next year’s fair.For now, the association’s top priority is convincing town trustees to consider a historic preservation ordinance.When the Dinkel Building lost its historic cornice during a remodeling project this spring, people started calling for an ordinance, Robertson said.Bricks from the eastern part of the cornice began falling to the sidewalk last December. When the building owner replaced the cornice several weeks ago, the new design did not match the original.Robertson said assistant town planner Janet Buck will present some historic preservation ideas at the association’s next meeting. He said the association doesn’t want to encumber developers and property owners with a restrictive ordinance.Another association project is to contact banks about installing an ATM machine somewhere downtown. “Hopefully, there’s a place for it,” Robertson said. A likely location would be in the proposed Town Center area north of the Dinkel Building.The association continues to discuss the multi-year downtown improvement project. Its attention for phase two, to be funded through a mill levy approved last year, has turned to the intersection of Main Street and Highway 133.”Maybe we should start at the stop light and work our way into town,” Robertson said. “This way, we could announce to the world there’s a small, quaint downtown here.”The town’s original plan called for ornamental street lights and other improvements to work their way out from downtown to Highway 133 to the west, and to Snowmass Road to the east.The association also critiqued the community celebration held downtown on June 8. Robertson said everyone pretty much agreed the day-long celebration was too long. Next year the association might kick off the celebration in the mid or late afternoon.
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