Community speaks out regarding "Quiet Festival" request

Resident says the Open Space should be restricted to Cherry Festival and Film Festival.

Does Traverse City overdo it when it comes to festivals? It's a question being raised by one resident who wants to limit events at the Open Space.

Lou Colombo put in a request for all the summer weekends not associated with the National Cherry Festival and the Film Festival. He wants to rent the grounds for the "Quiet Festival 2014.â?? In the permit request, he stated nobody would be attending.

Colombo said he hoped his request would be taken seriously by the city. He thinks the Open Space should be reserved for families, not overrun with festival-goers.

Many people said Colombo has a really good point.

â??To keep it as it is now, after all that hard work and getting the chemical plant out of here, I think itâ??s nice to appreciate everything,â?? said James Castillo, a Traverse City resident. â??Sometimes you have to stop and appreciate whatâ??s there. The open space is just open. It's self-explanatory. That's why we enjoy it.â??

With new festivals staking their claim each summer, the Open Space isnâ??t so open.

â??You really kind of felt like you had festival fatigue at the end of the summer,â?? said Daniel Schultz, a Traverse City resident. â??You miss the quiet breaks to relax in the open space like you can tonight.â??

The festivals bring in crowds from all over the country. It is that congestion that brought Traverse City resident Lou Colombo to put in an application for public land use to rent out the open space in an effort to prevent other festivals from setting up.

â??I'm not against festivals, letâ??s start with that,â?? said Lou Colombo. â??I've attended a number of festivals this year.â??

Colombo said he is willing to pay five thousand dollars to reserve all the summer weekends besides those of the Cherry Festival and the Film Festival.

â??If it were a bit more or less, I'd be willing to do it,â?? said Colombo.

Many people said the summer gets a little hectic, but they agreed only allowing the two festivals is a bit extreme.

â??I think they should find a nice balance between maybe offering a couple open weekends and stretching the festivals out,â?? said Schultz. â??I think that might be a little greedy. I like the variety that Traverse City brings in and offers for different people.â??

â??It would definitely be an attraction for people coming from out of the area,â?? said Doug Bennett, visiting from California. â??I think it'd be a good thing. It'd be a shame to lose that unless it's causing problems for the area.â??

â??It helps the economy,â?? said Margie Stoller, who has a home on Lake Leelanau. â??It brings people here, helps them enjoy the lakes and the area.â??

Colombo argued the Open Space was made for picnics and walking your dog.

â??The policy states that the Open Space really, the primary purpose of it, is for passive recreation,â?? said Colombo. â??There are other venues in the city that are available.â??

Colombo suggests festivals use The Commons, the Fair Grounds, or the Civic Center instead of the Open Space.

Although the city clerk said the request was denied, the application has brought up the issue of how Traverse City public areas are used for special events. The commission will talk about that at a meeting later this month.