Car show’s clout questionedPublished 8:09pm Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Sheila Halsaver questions how much business Kar Club’s Wednesday night Bring It cruise-in car shows deliver to downtown Niles.
Mayor Michael McCauslin and Lisa Croteau, Niles Main Street director, respectfully disagree.
A discussion unfolded before Niles City Council Monday evening.
Halsaver’s Therapeutic Massage at 20 North Third St., known for its gardens established over 20 years, is sometimes open until 8 p.m. on Wednesdays.
Blocking the street poses a parking problem.
“Parking along the streets is public and for everyone’s benefit,” the mayor said. “That event and the number of people it brings to the downtown area is beneficial to the community.”
Halsaver said the event is geared toward men.
“They’re not shoppers,” she said. “Looking at it from that standpoint, I don’t see that it brings a lot of business to downtown merchants if people are avoiding their businesses because the roads are blocked. That’s what I hear. If I took 12 massage tables and lined them up and blocked off the road, I don’t think it would be appreciated too much. It just seems very rude and invasive to people in our area, and it’s not bringing business to me or to businesses by me.”
She suggested moving the shows to a park.
“It’s going to continue until August,” McCauslin said. “I don’t think we can rescind permission we granted. I’ve been down there several times, and there are a couple of thousand people milling around downtown. I can’t speak for other businesses, but it has a very positive effect for businesses that serve food.”
“Businesses that stay open typically double what they do during the day, and more are staying open each week,” Croteau said. “I respectfully disagree that women aren’t down there, and they tend to shop and most definitely eat. It’s been a very positive economic engine for downtown on Wednesday nights, and I see people coming back on other days.”
“As the car show gets bigger, we’re going to need Cedar Street and maybe the rest of Third Street,” a representative of the Kar Club said. “We’re willing to work with her and give her whatever she needs to get in. We’re working with the daycare downtown to give them passes so they can get in and get children out.”