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Deming wants to hold Downtown Live on Public Square

July 09, 2008|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN -- The promoter of Downtown Live told the Hagerstown City Council during a Tuesday work session that he would consider canceling plans to hold the event if the council didn't approve his choice of venue.

Mike Deming said he preferred to hold the downtown music festival on the square and in the first block of South Potomac Street, which is the same site where he staged the event last year.

Following the advice of some members of the council to move Downtown Live to the Central Lot - the same place where Blues Fest is held - wouldn't give organizers enough time to plan for the October event, he said.

In addition, Deming argued that holding Downtown Live on the square brings a lot of trade to local businesses.

"My business is all about bringing business downtown," Deming said. He added many business owners support the event because "it creates exposure."

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Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II supported Deming.

"I believe having it in the street will create an atmosphere that the Central Lot cannot," Bruchey said.

Councilwoman Alesia Parson-McBean, who advocated the Central Lot as the venue for Downtown Live, said she was disheartened when Deming suggested that he might cancel the event.

Parson-McBean and Councilwoman Penny M. Nigh have argued in the past that blocking off the square to traffic for Downtown Live creates a safety problem by limiting access to emergency vehicles.

Councilwoman Kelly S. Cromer said she also preferred that the event be in the Central Lot, but she would reconsider the square if the city's safety service providers gave their approval.

The members of the council agreed to wait until Councilman Martin Brubaker returns from vacation to discuss the issue further.

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