DDA to review ‘Art in the Park’ Monday

Jan. 12, 2019  PLYMOUTH VOICE.

Plymouth Michigan News


Don Howard

Staff Writer

The Plymouth Downtown Development Authority (DDA) will hold its next meeting Monday, Jan. 14, at 7 p.m. at City Hall. A topic of discussion will be an open request by promoters of the for-profit company that runs Art in the Park to allow them to extend the three-day event to four days, starting in 2020.

The Plymouth City Commission voted 5-1 to deny the request for the year 2019 after an outpouring of comments from concerned business owners during last months packed commission meeting at City Hall. Mayor Pro Tem Colleen Pubur was the lone vote in favor of the expansion.

Despite the rejection, the art fair will continue this year with an estimated show of more than 400 merchants and artists from around the country closing the downtown area for three days. The commissioners approved the event for July 12, 13 and 14 for the 40thconsecutive year.

The fair features paintings, ceramics, jewelry, photography and folk-art and according to comments by Commissioner Ed Krol, in recent years, include other non-related arts and craft items like “gutters and landscaping.”

Art in the Park has grown to be the second largest art fair in Michigan.

Following are comments from the downtown Plymouth business community leaders submitted via email prior to the Dec. 10, 2018 DDA Board Meeting at the request of city administrators and the Plymouth Community Chamber of Commerce.




I’m all about it! It won’t conflict with my normal Wednesday comic book day so why not?
Ryan Hetkowski –State of Comics
Even though my business profits from the event, I know many otherretailers who do not. I DO NOT support the additional day for the event.
Gary Atkinson-Three Dog Bakery
We are writing you in response to a request for in increase in the length of days that Art in the Park is requesting for 2019. As long time standing business owners in downtown Plymouth, we feel that any increase to an event in the central business district is a detriment to all of us at Plymouth Square. Our business already suffers during citywide events and we have to discount Art in the Park weekend because brides and grooms do not want to deal with the hassle of crowds, no access to Kellogg Park and the fountain for ceremonies and pictures and the continued lack of parking in the City. For 39 years Art in the Park has had their success in a 3 day span, all the while taking over our downtown where we pay taxes. We feel that that 3 day span is adequate for them as a business to operate. Furthermore, adding a forth day to the Art Fair would only result in a “loss of a day” for revenue for all the existing business currently in the central business district. We strongly urge the DDA board to take our concerns into consideration when discussing this matter on Monday and recommend to the City Council a no vote for Art in the Park’s request for in increase to their proposal. 
Tracy and Todd Osann-Meeting House.
I don’t think this is a good idea. With The Fall festival, and the music in the Park, as well as the Wednesday noon kids activities, please keep Art in the Patk to the 3 day event.
Mark Wira-Ann Arbor Financial
Adding another day to Art in the Park is good for Home Sweet Home. We do really well with this event.
Carol Uber
I am opposed to extending the Art Fair another day. It has become difficult for us to conduct business in the current downtown business atmosphere. We are constantly dealing with trucks, noise pollution, trash and broken empty alcohol containers on our property, over flowing dumpsters and rats. However, when the streets are closed as they are for the Art Fair it becomes intolerable. We have lost business that we know of due to this situation, goodness knows how much business we’ve lost that we are not aware of. As one of, if not, the oldest businesses in downtown Plymouth I ask that there be no further deterrent imposed on us.
Michael Howell-Schrader-Howell Funeral Home
I would like to voice my support for adding a day to art in park.Art in the park brings a considerable amount of business to my store and we would really benefit from adding a day to the event. I am very hopeful that this will pass.
Krista Diamond-Kilwins Plymouth
As one of the longest serving businesses in Downtown Plymouth, we have seen a number of changes in the downtown over the years and embrace the vitality and diversity the cities’ numerous events provide. However, it has recently come to our attention a fourth day is being considered for Art in the Park.  May we respectfully request you reconsider such a change.  The three day event is particularly difficult for our patients (customers) to manage the traffic and parking.  Our deliveries triple during those days.  Most veteran Plymouth residents plan for the event and “stay out of town” for the duration.  A fourth day, while most welcomed by the promoter, would not be a priority for a majority of Plymouth residents.
Dale D. Knab- Wiltse’s Community Pharmacy
Thank you for allowing the merchants to voice their concern/opinion regarding expanding Art in the Park to 4 days. We do not believe this should be granted. We have a love/hate relationship with all festivals that occur in DTP.  However, they are limited in either size of street closures or the number of days.  Art in the Park is the most disruptive to the merchants, landlords, employees, and customers. If it is granted, we will either make the decision to close our business for those days or look into renting out our private parking (to offset the decline in our revenue) as our private lot is inaccessible during those days.
Debbie & Kathy-Delta Diamond Setters & Jewelers
We heard there is a possibility of moving the Art Fair in Plymouth to a 4 day show. From our perspective we look forward to the new customers the fair brings to our town. During the Art Fair there are people in town that typically aren’t shopping the stores. Bringin new customers in town is a great thing for everyone.
Gigis Mode- Amanda Britcher
I believe this is a great idea to keep Plymouth moving forward
Plymouth has been a leader in events and it would be great to see it continue long into the future for many generations to enjoy
so on behave of E.G.Nick’s Restaurant we put are full support
behind this decision to let Art In The Park grow

E.G.Nick’s- Frank Agostini
We at Jimmy Johns Penniman are in support of adding the extra day to the festivities! This event has proven to give us one of our busiest weeks of each year. We love the activity and look forward to 2019!
I found out today that Art in the Park is asking that their event be extended for a 4th day.
I am opposed to this. It is already a 3 day event which we have endured for many years now. However, those 3 days does affect our business and we have a loss in expected revenue. Regular customers stay away and don’t even try to come in because of dealing with street closures, having to pay for parking and the inconvenience. I pay for parking for myself and my staff on those days that Art in the Park takes place as well as any other event downtown. I would be paying for an additional day for parking and losing revenue at the same time.  I would ask that the City Commission and the DDA not approve an extension for this event.
Teri Allen
-Dearborn Jewelers of Plymouth
We would like it to be known that we are against adding another day to Art in the Park in Downtown Plymouth. Many businesses, including ours, must be at full staff and do not make money on those days, therefore, we are losing money. We understand that Plymouth has events and we appreciate them and hope that we get some future sales from them, however, adding another day would be another lost day of revenue. We have spoken with other businesses and even those that make money on those days are against it. Streets are closed, it inconveniences our regular customers and there is no parking, even for the employees that have to work. We only get people in milling about and they are in town for entertainment. Our store gets trashed. People are opening boxes throwing things around, just wanting to have fun at our expense and not buy anything. We cannot afford this. This experience is not just our business. I believe that the City Commission and DDA are to help support local businesses and adding another day to Art in the Park does not seem to be helpful, productive or conducive to helping our downtown businesses. We have been told that our store is a draw to Downtown Plymouth, but, we can only take so much and will probably close on that Thursday if it goes through. We simply cannot take the stress or the loss of yet another day’s revenue. Bringing people into Plymouth does not necessarily bring revenue to the businesses, in fact, many times it deters it. If people are coming to shop on our streets for art, are they coming to Plymouth to shop in our stores? No. They are shopping our streets and most businesses are blocked by their tents. So, the promoter gets more money and Plymouth gets to say it had X amount of people in town? What about the actual numbers for businesses? I have written before about getting everyone together to deal with crime and have received emails back to appease me, and nothing has happened since and never will. I feel that adding another day to Art in the Park is the last thing that we need to worry about right now. I think that your priorities are in the wrong place, please, place it back into the businesses in Downtown Plymouth to help them thrive. Frankly, as a business owner and resident taxpayer, I believe that my voice and others, that live in this community and own businesses in this community, should be heard before making this decision.
Elle Dare-Genuine Toy Co.
I did notice this on the agenda for the City Commission meeting and have to say I was a little surprised. I have always supported Art in the Park as an event that benefits the Plymouth community in general, with the knowledge that it does not benefit my business in particular. As a service business, my clients schedule ahead of time, we can accommodate very few walk in appointments. Typically during Art in the Park and the Fall Festival, my business, on the two busiest day of our week, drops 30% or more. Regular clients do not come, unless they are close enough to walk or ride a bike, and we get no up tick in sales at all due to the event. In addition, my team and I spend 2 days monitoring and fighting about parking and the noise and crowds are disruptive to a calm spa environment . We, like many businesses downtown, have very limited private parking, and our clients depend on the public parking around down town. While most of them are more than happy to pay a parking fee to help a charitable organization, the reality is there is very limited space available after 9 am each day of the festival, and they choose not to come. As I said, I support Art in Park as it currently exists, but do not want to, in effect, subsidize a private company’s profit for an additional day.
Kerri Pollard
-Agio Spa di Reposo
Thank you for your input request. We as residents and having a business in Plymouth have a love/hate relationship with the events. They hold Plymouth up as a great place to live, work and play. However also as a service business that does not sell knickknacks or food these events crush our business. Plymouth Yoga Room sees a decline of 30-40% in attendance and sales during events that shut the city down including the Sunday runs. This get’s blended in with part of doing business in Plymouth, yet to add an additional day would add more harm than good in our situation. For this reason I would vote against the addition of Thursday to the Art in the Park weekend.
Brent A. Rieli-
MI Yoga Room
Sun & Snow supports efforts to grow AITP into a four-day event. The events are what make Plymouth what it is today. Art in the Park is an asset to our local economy, drawing thousands of visitors, and significantly increasing in-store traffic. This marketing value alone outweighs the parking frustrations and rerouted traffic. Full disclosure, we do have family that is a vendor in this event, but our opinion above is a result of the effect on Sun & Snow, specifically.
We wish you the best for 2019, and look forward to seeing this event retain its draw as the second largest in the state.
Rob & Heidi Parent
I encourage the addition of a fourth day added to AITP.  This is a great event that popularizes DTP, and gives Plymouth the “IT” factor that is so critical to the welfare of the city. Our sales increase with each event. The only criticism I hear from other retailers is their loss of visibility.
Bob Parent-Sun and Snow
Stella’s Black Dog Tavern is in full support of extending Art in the Park for an additional day in recognition of its 40th year. Bob Ostendorf and I believe these events are an integral part of what makes our community vibrant and desirable place to live and work. While this is an excellent opportunity to support the DDA and Art in the Park, we also believe this will benefit local shops, restaurants and businesses with the increased traffic the extra day will bring to Downtown Plymouth. Please contact our office if you have any questions regarding this matter.
James R. Sullivan-Stella’s Black Dog
This seems to be more about the promoters making money than drawing people into the city. The event is morphing into less of an Art fair. This is doing less and less to support our merchants. I would question whether some of the booths have anything at all to do with art. Windows, gutter guard etc. Just a means to an end, to cover costs and make money.  Although I see the value in this event I think it should be held to certain standards.
Frank Yaquinto- Compari’s, Fiamma and The Sardine Room

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