Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Answer To The Star's Question: Windsor Artsfest Weekends

The Star asked in a recent Editorial
  • "What could encourage an entirely new group of Essex County residents to come to the heart of the city? Closing streets and creating one big pedestrian mall downtown on weekends all summer long. It worked during the Detroit Grand Prix and the Red Bull air races, and we believe it should become the norm for weekends in the inner city. It's the best way to revitalize the core...

    Now is the time for the Downtown Windsor Business Improvement Association to approach city council to ask that streets in the core be closed to vehicular traffic this summer.

    We would suggest shutting down Ouellette Avenue between Riverside and Park streets, closing Chatham Street between Ferry and Goyeau, and also blocking University Avenue between Pelissier and Park.

    For those who worry, there will still be plenty of parking, but frankly, parking's not the issue. It's coaxing people out of their cars and on to the streets that's the problem. A pedestrian mall presents the perfect opportunity for merchants and restaurant owners to take it up a notch and showcase themselves. How they do it is up to them, but summer is a great time to experiment with new foods, new decor, new ideas.

    The benefits have been proven. We need to take full advantage of our great weather and our fabulous waterfront from now until Labour Day."

Of course events are needed to encourage people to come downtown. A Pedestrian Mall alone won't do it. People need a reason to come and not just once, but many weekends.

Naturally, the BLOGMEISTER had the answer even before the question was asked and presented this concept to the Downtown Windsor Business Improvement Association months ago:

Windsor Artsfest Weekends

DoubleClick here for details

When I worked and lived in London, England on a project for my former employer, I saw local artists every weekend hang up their paintings and sculptures for everyone to see (and even buy) on the fence around the park across the street from my hotel in Mayfair. I'd often go out and walk around for an hour or two looking at the works of art, some good, some not so good and would eat an ice-cream cone or other sweet as I enjoyed the time outside.

What could compare with our Riverfront or closing up our main street near the river for a few hours on the weekend to draw people there.

The costs are minimal but the opportunity huge.

Oh don't worry, nothing happened. Even with a major media sponsor and with a terrificly innovative idea how to attract Americans AND Canadians into the downtown at minimal cost, all I got was the run-around, being shuffled between DWBIA Committees.

Wasting thousands on streetscaping is a much better idea to attract the crowds.