Please accept this letter to let me share my thoughts with regard to the above considered event. First and foremost, based on the application submitted, this is another major music event of similar magnitude of Bluegrass and Blues & Brews. The impacts, both positive and negative will be significant to the community. Accordingly, I encourage both CCAASE and Town Council to implement a proper public review process to ensure all impacts have been identified, measured and evaluated before such an event becomes institutionalized.
Please do not construe my input as someone who is opposed to this event, I comprehend how important economic development is to this community and how another major music event could bolster the summer tourism season, the merchants, the hotels, etc.. However, as others have noted “maintaining proper balance” is key….too much of one thing could foreclose out other economic development opportunity. Achieving a proper balance requires adequate input from all stakeholders. I also respect and appreciate the volunteer efforts of both the CCAASE board and Town Council. However, an event of this magnitude with its potential significant impacts should be put through the same rigorous public review process similar to a large development or hotel project. Rest assured though, at the end of that process the community will be well served.
Assuming that CCAASE and Town Council do subject this event to further public review then certain aspects I think should be considered. Outreach to the property owners and residents of the Town should be considered. Based on my experiences over the 22 years that I lived here, the people who live in Town have strong opinions on this matter but are reluctant to voice them in a public forum for various rational reasons. Accordingly, utilizing the tax rolls could be a viable method to target property owners with a mail survey. Another mailing could go out to the PO boxholders to reach the non- property owning residents. I am not concerned about the business community submitting their input. The business community is active, motivated and organized. I am sure they will do a superlative job in conveying their points.
I believe that the Town finance department should attempt to assess the financial impacts of this event. Included in that assessment should be potential negative impacts to other revenue streams, particularly RETT. I realize the second part of this assessment is quite difficult to quantify and even more difficult to even determine whether it is negative or positive however, the information, as best as it can analyzed should be put before the board and council members to consider.
Should other music event producer candidates be entertained? Creating a competitive context for this valuable slot in Town Park could reap benefits for both the Town and other local events and entities. If this event appears to be here long term then it truly has potential to generate economic development funds over and above sales tax revenues.
Thank you for hearing me out.
– Steve “Willie” Wilson