If you’ve read through some previous posts (or follow us on Twitter) you’re probably aware that the Chatter very much enjoyed the chicken referendum discussions at City Hall. This past Monday, City Council voted to allow domestic chickens in the City of Annapolis. We attended City Council to see the chicken vote occur, but we ended up seeing so much more!
We witnessed the Ward One Resident’s Association (WORA) in action oppposing another issue, the TriRock Annapolis event. I left that meeting with a few choice words racing through my mind for Joe Budge of Randall Court, President of the WORA. As covered by the Patch in this article, you can read some of what he had to say regarding the event on May 12 in downtown Annapolis. But it was worse than that! (He also complained that the noise woke residents up. Hey Joe- the Midshipmen wake residents up right before midnight on a WEEKNIGHT on a regular basis when they’re out drinking. And we have annual races like the Annapolis Ten Miler, but I don’t hear complaints about any of that.)
A lil bit of info: TriRock is produced by a group from San Diego that also publishes four magazines. (Read: they’re “outsiders” and they are for profit.) They are doing this event in the following cities: New York, San Diego, Seattle, Austin, Clearwater (FL) and Annapolis.
When magazines produce events, they publicize the bejeepers out of them to their readers. That’s four national magazines who have seen the city of Annapolis alongside New York, Seattle, Austin, and San Diego. I’m sure we’re all bright enough to realize that our city of less than 40k residents (Clearwater has a population over 100k) isn’t exactly the booming metropolis that other cities are. But there we are, running with the big dogs.
So this opposition by the “citizens” sent me on a little mission of my own – why not talk to the people that live and operate businesses along the route of said proposed triathlon? I respect that Joe Budge represents the Association, but he doesn’t live in an area that’s (directly) affected by the event. And he hadn’t talked to the folks who live on the streets that would close for the event. In fact, Randall Court isn’t even part of the Residential Parking areas downtown.
The residents and business owners I spoke with were all unanimous in saying they didn’t mind the TriRock. They weren’t jumping up and down with joy, but they didn’t mind it. Only one expressed concern over potential lost business but said the folks at TriRock were ordering 300 of her signature treats for the event. One business owner said they WANT TriRock because it’s great exposure for potential returns. This business owner also indicated that they had received a letter from the Association inviting them to a discussion opposing TriRock. They respectfully declined the invitation as they have no problem. And one resident doesn’t even really remember the event last year – that’s how unaffected they were by it. (And this person’s road was closed and they had to move their car for it, but no big deal.)
Yes, you’ll always have one or two people upset. That’s just the reality of life. Fine. But let’s take a step back Joe Budge, Mayor Cohen and Aldermen, and look at what I think is the bigger picture.
Consider this – people have registered for this event. In fact, only yesterday, they posted this on their Facebook page: TriRock Annapolis is getting ready to sell out. Only 100 spots left. Get your registration in ASAP! And if you’re not racing, consider volunteering as part of our race crew.
What would it say about the City to these people if they had to cancel because the fine folks at WORA got their panties in a bunch? Great PR for the City of Annapolis. I understand that perhaps the TriRock people maybe should have secured their permits sooner, but from my understanding, the City is only issuing event permits one month out from the event.
TriRock reports an estimated economic impact of over $700,000 dollars last year to our community, in its first year. Over 500 hotel rooms were booked and over 75% of participants were from out of the market. And while our city is on a downward spiral, the people of this town are telling the City Council we don’t want outside money. ? They’re saying to this company, we don’t want you and your national sponsors like Land Rover, and your followers, and outside people in general, in our community, spending money. I’m not the most business and financially savvy person around, but it just doesn’t make that much sense. Especially considering it’s one single morning, before the tourist season is in full swing, and it only lasts for a few hours and is over by 1pm. I live downtown. I know it’s empty on a regular Saturday morning before noon/1pm. And so does everyone else.
If you’d like to express your opinion, please consider writing the City (the Mayor at Mayor@annapolis.gov or any member of City Council) and let them know how you feel. Good or bad… but we as a community cannot allow the Ward One Whiners to control our government.
Mr. Mayor, let TriRock happen this year. Be creative with how you handle some of the logistics. Utilize upper West Street. Use that darn Circulator to address the parking issue. Encourage TriRock competitors to stay Saturday night and attend the Rock and Roast charity event benefiting the Box of Rain. Think smarter, not harder! And if they really are horrible neighbors and it’s an absolute disaster, tell them on May 13th that they are not welcomed back for 2013. And that will be the end of TriRock Annapolis.
And to folks out in San Diego who are putting this thing on, if the city denies your permit, I’m sure the people on the Eastern Shore in Talbot County would welcome you, your money, your customers, and the exposure, with open arms! My brief research tells me they don’t have a Ward One Residents Association.