The condition of the Open Space, post-Cherry Festival
NOTE: This is not intended as a news report on the condition of the Open Space. This is a first reaction as someone who last week voiced concern about park usage by the Cherry Festival to provide parking.
Of issue this week, is that the film festival organizers are voicing strong concern about the condition of the Open Space post-Cherry Festival. To the extent that they are considering not utilizing the space for the free movies in this year’s festival. There’s a report on 7&4 that covers the basics (“Film Festival reacts to Cherry Festival effects“). My suspicion is that this will not be the only media coverage. Apparently earlier this spring the Traverse City Film Festival contributed $4000 worth of seed and collaborated with the Cherry Festival to ensure that the Open Space did have green grass for the two events in July. The images provided by Film Festival co-founder John Robert Williams do not reflect that it worked out so well.
Every year the impact of 10 days of continuous human traffic and all the service vehicles leaves a scar. Some years seem worse than others; with a little love (and water) the big green lawn returns. It’s seen as a trade off for bringing thousands of tourists into town.
What’s different, from my experience, is that this year it isn’t just matted down brown grass. There are real issues that show some very heavy impact and which lead me to question how the city handles park usage. The current issue between the two-festivals is one thing, but the long-term planning and protection of the parkland is something that additional stakeholders will continue to be concerned about.
Personally, as a commissioner on the Traverse City parks and recreation, I didn’t realize the extent that oversight was needed in regards to prevention and remediation of environmental impact. When we advice the city commission to accept applications for park usage, there was an assumed understanding that proper planning and oversight of the impact existed. To be honest, I also believed there was more sensitivity on part of the Cherry Festival to the condition they left the park. The above image to me reflects poorly on the planning and oversight of the Cherry Festival organizers, but I’m just seeing these images now and look forward to further enlightenment on the issue.
A key question I have is if there is a need for a ramped-up impact prevention and remediation check-list to be implemented for future events, and if so, who is responsible for drafting it. It’s an urban park and wear-and-tear is to be expected. Still, where can we use better infrastructure, policy and planning to control and prevent needless impact. And, what level of impact is acceptable?
Have you been down to the Open Space or looked at the images?
What are your initial reactions?
What questions need to be asked and answered?