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Sun, July 21

Point-Counterpoint: Should the county reduce the number of events on the plaza?

Courier Point-Counterpoint

Prescott’s vibrant downtown exists because it is a tourist destination. The rich history, Whiskey Row, unique stores and eateries, and courthouse plaza activities are what makes the downtown attractive to visitors.

This attraction leads to money in the pockets of local business owners. This enables the area to thrive.

If the county begins to limit the rich and enjoyable events on the plaza, this action can lead directly to a downturn in tourism dollars.

Other downtowns have created venue space without making an impact on grass. Have we looked at other alternatives?

Small town America complains that their downtowns are ghost towns, dying a slow, sad death. Prescott is a shining example that death does not need to happen.

In fact, the city recently approved a contract to improve marketing the city even more. The funds came from the bed tax, which is paid by our tourists. It’s all connected to tourism and spending some tourism dollars to increase tourism dollars makes sense.

Prescott Economic Initiatives Director Jeff Burt told the council that the contract is intended “to enhance (the city’s) ability to drive additional sales tax revenue from tourism-related activity by increasing the number and quality of tourists that visit Prescott, and to better target retailers that are also of interest to city visitors.”

So, if the city is trying to attract more visitors, how is the county’s plan for decreasing the number of plaza events going to help that? It won’t.

It seems the city and the county are working at cross purposes and one has to wonder why – if one flourishes, so does the other and vice versa.

Time for everyone to get on the same page. Don’t do something that will hurt the flow of tourist dollars.

Robin Layton, editor

Courier Point-Counterpoint

I am in favor of the reduced number of permits or days for events on the courthouse plaza.

Prescott has a jewel in its plaza and surrounding businesses. That is not the case everywhere that has a downtown like ours.

I lived in Kingman from 1993 to 1996. Its downtown too has a courthouse, but its surrounding buildings were full of only government offices and Realtors – except for two restaurants (an awesome Mexican joint and a nearby ’50s diner. (Of course, that was then – it may have changed; though not from what I have heard.)

Be thankful ours is a vibrant downtown, which in part attracted me and my family to Prescott. It is enjoyable to walk, shop, and get a bite or a beer.

However, in recent years, I have adopted how we coped while living in Lake Havasu City in the early ’90s. When the Californians or spring breakers would come to town (and the lake), we would stay home. Our enjoyment was listening to the police scanner for the visitors’ stupid antics.

Yes, we gave them the key to the city. It was easier to stay away from the crowds, drunks, traffic, trash and everything else. It was ours again when they were gone.

That’s downtown Prescott for me right now. I opt for not going as much as I’d like, and that’s disappointing.

Yes, I get it that Yavapai County’s reasoning is to let the plaza grass survive and thrive. Makes sense; 20 or so fewer events, letting the sun shine. Yet, all of this also involves contracts and quality checks for the number of events and their wares – something that will help as well.

Save the grass? Sure.

Push visitors away from downtown businesses? Not so sure. (It’s a Field of Dreams; they will come anyway.)

Regain area residents who will emerge from their homes, like hibernating animals discovering a beautiful spring again? Yes.

Tim Wiederaenders, city editor

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