Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Sunday

September 15, 2013

TC man hopes to reserve Open Space

TRAVERSE CITY — Lou Colombo applied with the city to reserve the Open Space for 11 weekends next summer to host a non-event he’s dubbed “The Quiet Space Festival 2014.”

Colombo recently filed applications with the city parks and recreation department for low-impact events on every summer weekend other than those used by the National Cherry Festival and the Traverse City Film Festival.

His goal: head off the growing use of the city’s Open Space as a festival venue.

A festival event commandeered the Open Space every other weekend from the beginning of August through this weekend’s Taste of Traverse.

Quiet Space 2014 will feature nothing, if Columbo has his way.

“They asked about the expected number of attendees and I put down zero,” Colombo said.

Colombo estimated it would cost him almost $5,000 to block out the Open Space for all 11 weekends, based on what the Bayside Festival paid for a five-day use, including setup, over the Labor Day weekend. Colombo brought his checkbook with him when he filed the applications, but city staff declined to take his money, he said.

“The whole thing is we pay taxes to have that Open Space available and then they give it away for a paltry sum,” Colombo said. “The summer is too short.”

Colombo’s actual bill should be a lot less because his festival doesn’t do anything. It qualifies as a low-impact event and at most will cost just $15 a day, or $330 for 11 weekends. Colombo’s application likely was too late to block one reservation. Sam Porter of Porterhouse Productions filed his reservation to repeat the combined Paella in the Park and Great Wakes Festival in 2014.

Both men filed their reservations on Sept. 11.

Colombo accepts he may be too late to block Porter, but that should be the only competitor to his Quiet Space events.

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