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Sunday, October 30, 2016

Leaving a sour note

Last week, I was trying to explain that I didn't understand the purpose of the Pumpkin Patch being moved to Regatta Park, from Peacock Park. The reason given for having all of the events moved from Peacock is the damage they do to the lawn. But if you see what my friend Glenn Terry posted on his blog regarding the Regatta Park Pumpkin Patch, you'll see what my concern was - why would the grass at one park, Regatta, not be a problem when its all torn up and damaged and the other park, Peacock, is a no no for events.

One reason of course could be that at soccer league and a school run a large portion of Peacock Park, which hits a sour note with many - why is a public park being sold to the highest bidder? But beyond that, look at Glenn's write-up and photos. I have one here, courtesy Glenn, but go look at all the rest. A mess. Total mess.

This is how Regatta Park was left. The Grove got nothing out of it but a mess and lots of traffic. When events are in Peacock Park, at least people walk through the Center Grove and somewhat engage with the community. At Regatta they park, pay to enter the event and then leave. They don't hang around, they just leave their mess and are off. This event could have been at that Flagler Dog Track location, it would basically be the same. This "Coconut Grove" event, had nothing to do with Coconut Grove. We were just the dumping ground. Our brand new park was fenced off and the event owners made all the cash, no charity is involved. It was 90% carnival and 10% pumpkin patch, before it opened on Sunday, there were a handful of pumpkins left, not enough to even call it a Pumpkin Patch.

The City has more money now than it ever did. In the past, they were broke and when they money grubbed for city services, it was understandable. Now it's just downright greedy, they sell out parks to the highest bidder, whether it's for one day or for years.

I am conflicted about the events being gated in. I sort of look past that because these large events bring massive amounts of people to the Grove and once they are here, they spend money.

I emailed about 12 local restaurant owners and asked them about last weekend. I asked if they saw an uptick in business due to the Pumpkin Patch visitors or was it just the perfect weather we had, you remember, it was like a February day here. Perfect. I told them I would keep them anonymous, so I will.

I got about seven replies and the consensus was that they couldn't gauge it, but they believe it was the nice weather that brought people out to the outdoor restaurants, not the Pumpkin Patch. One said the he liked the Pumpkin Patch better than the Arts Festival, because it doesn't close the streets. But that wasn't the question. The question was, "Did you see a difference in customer counts due to the Pumpkin Patch?"

One business owner said it best: "I don't think it affected us one way or the other.  People go to the Pumpkin Patch spend a lot of money there and eat there and go home.  If they didn't have food then maybe, but what is a pumpkin patch without food?  I for one would go, enjoy, eat, play and go home."

There was a time when Coconut Grove was event driven. Maybe it's not anymore, maybe we don't need any more festivals to take over the parks. Maybe we do. 

For linking to this one story, just click on the time it was posted & just this story will open for sharing - only through social media. Not copying and pasting.

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