The car show must go on
There were a lot of disappointed people when the Niles City Council voted 7 to 1 to deny an event application request from a Niles resident who wants to put on a weekly car show in downtown Niles this summer.
The car shows have become a staple of the city over the past several years, attracting an estimated 1,500 people each Wednesday evening when the weather is nice.
It would be a shame to see the car show and all those visitors disappear from Niles forever.
The council expressed many legitimate concerns with the car show Monday night, including that putting it on Main Street would cost approximately $10,000 over the course of the summer. The cost comes in the form of permits and man hours needed to put up and take down road barricades and roads signs according to MDOT regulations, since Main Street is a state highway.
The organizers of the event want the city to waive that cost, leaving a sizeable tab for the city — and taxpayers — to pick up.
There is also the issue of support from downtown merchants.
Do downtown business owners want a car show each Wednesday night? At this point we don’t know for sure.
While event organizer Rex Carpenter said he has received sponsorships for the show from five downtown businesses, none of those merchants showed up to the meeting to voice their support.
Carpenter also did not have anything in writing to show merchants want the event — something we feel is necessary if the show is to go on.
There is also talk of splitting the site of event between Main Street and Riverfront Park (where it was held last year during construction of the Main Street Bridge) in order to cut down costs. City officials say it would cost almost nothing to place it in the park because it is not on a state highway.
Thankfully, the council and Carpenter seem like they are willing to work together to make this event a reality, in one form or another.
We hope they can come up with a compromise so that Niles can continue to enjoy its popular car shows, whether they are on Main Street, in the park, or a combination of the two.
Opinions expressed are those of the editorial board consisting of Publisher Michael Caldwell and editors Ambrosia Neldon, Craig Haupert, Ted Yoakum and Scott Novak.