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Don't let Deming go it alone

June 15, 2007

Hagerstown developer Mike Deming this week received the City Council's unofficial OK to hold the second annual Downtown Live party on Oct. 20

The approval came despite concerns raised by Councilwoman Penny Nigh that closing some streets would make it impossible for emergency vehicles to get through.

Some merchants also said that the event doesn't help them. We heard some of the same objections years ago during the annual HagerFest, now defunct.

Not every event, whether it be the BluesFest or Augustoberfest, will benefit everyone.

Here's our question: If not Downtown Live, then what?

Over the years, the city has tried street festivals, music events and gotten merchants and restaurants to agree to stay open late one weekday evening a month.

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The experience suggests that it will take a combination of approaches and promotions to create a buzz about downtown. If Deming's event is not to everyone's liking, the best thing to do would be to create something else.

This need not be an either/or proposition. Deming's event is one day, but there are many other days on which downtown needs to give people reasons to go there.

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