Historic Main Street Cruise Being Forced To Shut Down
The monthly Historic Springfield Main Street Cruise is being forced to shut down due to city red tape. The event has been happening for over 2 years now and John Wells, a representative from the event has spoken out to why it is being canceled:
"I've been asked to explain what has happened:
The city has several stages that they rent out. The only problem is that it's a nightmare trying to get one for the average person. The biggest problem is that when you place the application and post the insurance they won't give you an answer if you are lacking anything. Last year when we rented the stage for the BIG ENGINE show, we were right up to the last day trying to find out if they were going to let us have the stage. Others who have rented these stages have told the same story. One told me they laid some new crap on her 3 hours before the stage was supposed to be delivered and she was jumping through her butt trying to satisfy them. There continue to be new requirements ALL the time.
You can't put on a show like this. How can you plan anything if you don't know if you have a stage?
This year I was not going to let this happen again. I started out well in advance and reserved one of the stages and filed the application and was told that it was reserved for us. The Krystal Company sent them an insurance certificate for a 25 million dollar liability policy. In the weeks since then I have repeatedly called Ron Bruton (255-8765) to find out if there was anything else they needed and if we were approved for the stage. The answer I got EVERY time was, don't know, don't know, don't know!!!! On this past Monday I got the same answer. I was very frustrated and told him that I would not wait until the LAST DAY to find out if I had the stage or not. He interpreted that as me cancelling the reservation on the stage and gave it to someone else. My intent was to start calling "up the line" to see if I could find anyone who knew anything since Ron Bruton obviously did not. I talked to the assistant to the new head of Parks and Recreation and was told that I because I had cancelled my reservation our stage had already been given to someone else and it was irreversible. Mind you this was only one day. When I couldn't get anywhere with her I went to the Mayor's office and got nothing but a bunch of "deer in the headlights" BS.
Later that afternoon I got a call and began getting emails from Laurie Mills in the SPECIAL EVENTS office telling me that we needed a SPECIAL EVENTS permit for not just the band but for the entire Cruise from now on. If you have more than 500 people they want this permit. I tried to explain to her that this is a spread out thing and there are never 500 people in one location. She didn't want to hear this. She said that the city will shut it down and we could be fined.
The SPECIAL EVENT permit they are asking for is impossible for us to get. We don't charge anybody anything for the Cruise. The City wants us to provide General Liability Insurance, Workman's comp insurance, payment for police, and other things like portolets. We have no money for all of this!!! I don't know where they think all this money would come from. Several of the businesses have pitched in for this big cruise so that we could rent the stage and hire the band and so on, but this is one big show for the summer. I can't spend these peoples money and have the city shut it down.
I also tried to explain that the reason the cruise was expected to be big this month is that the GREAT RACE is coming through. They knew NOTHING about that. I told them to check with VISIT JACKSONVILLE since they were the ones who were promoting it.
When you talk to these people it's like talking to the wall.
The city spends millions of dollars of YOUR tax money to bring people downtown for ONE event. We have brought people into the downtown area Every month for 2 years and not asked the the city for one dime.
As I said the other day, my friend Ken Hamilton has been right all along. If it ain't football or golf the city could care less. There is a huge motorsport community in this town, but they don't matter. FOOTBALL OR GOLF!! That's the ticket!!!
How much did the new mega TV screen at the stadium cost US!!!!
Let me also add that when you talk about "THE CITY OF JACKSONVILLE", you are really talking about our elected officials. So, if you are not happy about the way all of this has come down, then go and vote and get rid of the dead wood!!!!!"
We fully support the cruise and have seen first hand the economic impact the event has had on the Springfield area. Long Live The Springfield Main Street Cruise!
Photos from past events by An Image In Time Photography: