Posts filed under ‘Downtowns’

Friday Night Live Gets Expanded “Beer Garden”

The Belmont City Council last night approved the request from the Downtown Merchants Association to expand the “beer garden” for Friday Night Live. The new area extends from the Caravan parking lot and Airline Avenue to include all of the street and sidewalk in front of Stowe Park.

As a result, the merchants association also approved a new cup size that will be available on July 11:

Friday Night Live organizer and Belmont Man About Town(BMAT), Vince Hill, explained to council that the real purpose of Friday Night Live is to provide five $500 scholarships for South Point HS students. After all the expenses of each event, the group clears about $200. The merchants association also sells t-shirts and accepts donations as a 501(c)3 organization.

Council members engaged Mr. Hill with ideas to help make more money. Former police chief Flowers suggested using a gambling scheme commonly known as a 50/50 to help. Mr. Hill countered with a request to have the city police donate their time to reduce the $375/event cost. Ron Foulk suggested that Mr. Hill and Chief David James, “get together and work out a plan”. After it was all said and done, the beer garden gets expanded to Mill Street and the sidewalk fronting Stowe Park. The merchants also decided later to increase the cup size – as noted in the photo above.

While this is all well and good – certainly should increase the crowd size and lower the age demographic for attendance – the police will have much more to patrol. We hope the discussion in the “work things out” plan notices that once on the sidewalk, the city ordinance against alcohol in the park will be severely tested. Even though no police-related incidents have occurred through eight previous Friday Night Live events, the group is inviting something to happen.

Funny how an event planned outside of government supervision now needs/wants taxpayer money to make money – for scholarships no less. City Council is quite proud that they could help – already covering the overtime for the public works personnel who provide cleanup after the event, and providing 5 off-duty policeman ($25/hr paid to the officers).

After all the brouhaha of last summer when the project was first proposed – “state road, can’t have alcohol in the street” and “program to increase downtown awareness and traffic outside of government sponsorship”, we now have a fun product offered by merchants who aren’t seeing the (rubbing fingers together motion) the dollar for dollar return.

How sad.

It’s a great event series. We hope it doesn’t get out of hand and hope that the purposes are clearly defined. Charlie Flowers even has a line item for the newly created Belmont Tourism Authority, $3000 allocation to the downtown merchants – talk about tax and spend.

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July 8, 2008 at 9:01 pm Leave a comment

Belmont Concerts in the Park

The first of four concerts in the park was held this past Saturday evening, with the Center City Groove band, entertaining a relatively sparse crowd based on past history.

The Center City Groove is a 5 piece cover band, doing music from the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s. Of course, the obligatory “Electric Slide” too.

The band did an OK job, nothing really special – have we become “concerted-out” here in Belmont, or is it all becoming too generic?

The lead singer, ‘Hollywood’, had his mic turned up to the point of distortion. They needed a sound tech or at least someone helping to adjust the loudness. He was a good singer, a bit full of himself, but aren’t all entertainers?

The lead guitar was excellent, his bluesy style and the few solos went over well with the crowd on the hill.

Even with the heat, it seemed to cool off quite a bit when the sun slipped below the treeline. The new program staffer, “Reba” from the Parks and Recreation Department plugged the new concession stand and the ice cream. Must have worked because a lot of people were seen with cones and slushies all evening.

The next concert in the park is next Saturday evening at 7:00 PM. Hopefully, it won’t be quite as hot. The Charlotte Civic Orchestra will be the entertainment.

June 9, 2008 at 6:54 pm Leave a comment

Discovery Place eyeing Belmont for children’s museum

Even though the concept is old news ’round here, when the Gazette picks it up, it must be important.

We think this is a great reuse of the inactive mills, it helps from a destination place viewpoint, and it keeps the Discovery Place program in the forefront of children’s programming.

Our wholehearted endorsement of this program is just a few small voices applauding the formation and planning process.

With homes in the former Chronicle Mill village converted to private ownership, and the lack of significant parking, what are the plans to move cars, and the many school busses and day care busses through the neighborhood?

This will certainly be a challenge to Mayor Richard Boyce’s vision of “Neighborhood Preservation’ as expressed in the recently passed Comprehensive Land Use Plan.

We would assume the RL Stowe Fiber Lab will be eliminated for the parking needs, but that begs the question about the Belmont Parks and Rec department onetime eye on the land next to the new police station. Members of council had shared an interest several years ago in this land for a Recreation Center when the police station was under construction. Now that the Parks Bond has passed, maybe they have backed off on that idea?

The program of regionalizing the Discovery Place for children in the lower elementary grades is a workable concept. Already in the design phase, a similar regional Discovery Place Kids will be located in Huntersville. As many as five regional prgrams could be established. Kinda wonder what would happen to the Schiele Museum over in Gastonia. The city’s museum is struggling financially and the current city manager has put pressure on all the department heads to lower city-funded operating losses.

Could Discovery Place Kids be the Wal-mart of children’s museum programming?

Good Luck with this project, we hope it works out for the best for everyone.

 

June 2, 2008 at 11:04 pm Leave a comment

Rough Draft Band Rocks Downtown Belmont

The Rough Draft band from Charlotte rocked downtown Belmont last night during the second installment of the 2008 Friday Night Live! series.

Disco hits of the late 70’s and early 80’s were mixed in with pop tune covers throughout both sets. Of course the obligatory, “Electric Slide” was played for the female (and the few male) dancers. Seems liked every band that comes to Belmont has to play “Electric Slide”. Ok, just kinda confirms for us the level of “sophistication” the bands have when they pander to crowds.

The interesting part of the Friday Night Live! is becoming the intermission between sets. The Downtown Belmont Merchants Association takes the opportunity to thank the sponsors of the event, make announcements, and let the evening’s sponsor do their song and dance.

Last night the sponsor was Neil Brock and Associates (Nationwide Insurance). Neil was able to get Nationwide to bring in their showcar from the newly sponsored under-card of NASCAR (formerly the Busch Series), now called the Nationwide Series. They also had a racing simulator on hand that was free. Neil did a good job, even handing out a lot of “freebies”.

Belmont is certainly getting spoiled by all the largess that is being lavished on the crowds at Friday Night Live! Our little crowd certainly enjoyed ourselves last night. The “expanded” beer garden now extends from the tracks to the Day Spa and occasionally pushes onto the state road commonly known as Main Street (gasp).

The dude from the hardwood flooring store with the annoyingly high pitched voice needs to find someone else to lead the announcements. While his statements are needed – he just is not the person needing to make them. Certainly someone with a better microphone voice can be found to rally the crowd at intermission.

One important point that was stressed at the last event and again last night was that the downtown businesses were the overall sponsors of this entertainment – not the Chamber of Commerce. Although, there was a lot of cooperative work being done between the two groups. That collaboration is key to the success of this event.

We really enjoyed the fact that the evening’s lead sponsor gets to do a bit of promotion. Will a bridal show be on tap in the future? Or, maybe a beer-chugging contest sponsored by one of the downtown “pubs”? just random thoughts to ponder…

 One highlight of the dancing action was a certain Jaquie Allen of Charlotte, who was able to dance (disco-style actually), and hula-hoop at the same time. She provided quite a bit of entertainment for the crowd and did some instructional work with the kids at the same time. We love it Belmont!

The food vendors are constantly improving. The po-po are lightening up a bit, and the city’s street maintenance crews seem to be enjoying themselves so much more. Maybe that overtime agreement helped out a lot…

The downtown merchants hawked the Friday Night Live! t-shirts for $10, and explained that the funds raised would be going to a scholarship program for South Point students. They brought up some of the applicant/volunteers of the scholarship program during the intermission. Pretty neat idea there folks.

Overall, another enjoyable night in the lively downtown area. We think it would be cool if the merchants association could give out some economic impact numbers by week or by season. It helps when you are attempting to draw interest to the community at several levels.

The next Friday Night Live! is June 13 with Jimmy Quick & the Coastline band.

Don’t forget the Parks and Recreation concerts in the park, next Saturday night with the Center City Groove Band.

May 31, 2008 at 11:05 am 5 comments

Rough Draft TONIGHT! Friday Night Live!

Rough Draft will be performing tonight on Main Street in downtown Belmont. This is the second of the Friday Night Live series sponsored by the downtown merchants association.

Festivities begin at 6:30 PM.

Bring your dancing feet!

 

 

May 30, 2008 at 10:38 am Leave a comment

RE: Belmont’s Busy Weekend

Well, a big weekend has come and gone in dear old Belmont.

Some of the more progressive realtors in town were able to piggyback on the weekend that drew thousands of visitors to Friday Night Live!, the Garibaldi Festival, and the Belmont Women’s Club Home Tour. There were multiple “open houses” for homes that were for sale in the Belmont area. Realtors certainly took advantage to show their listings this weekend and particularly on Sunday.

photos from Belmont Rocks! website:

Some homes for sale within the tour pattern were visited by a number of individuals, and a few received offers this week according to our sources.

Now this is the way to market Belmont, events, social life, school activities, and FUN!

congratulations to all the people who continue to show the best of what Belmont has to offer. This summer should be very interesting with all the upcoming events that are planned.

May 22, 2008 at 12:36 pm Leave a comment

Palenick and Council Cronies to use strong arm tactics

Over in the county seat, Gastonia citizens are experiencing yet another turn from the litigious-minded city manager, Jim “Big Plan” Palenick.

 

Why not force a business to GIVE their land to the city through the eminent domain process granted to public entities? The issue is the bank building and land within “Big Plan” Palenick’s downtown renovation. The city wants the land for the “public good”, the bank wants fair market value for the property. The city says the fair market is only UP TO $600,000, the bank disagrees. Three members of city council have sided with the government – well, that’s all it takes – now it appears the citizens of Gastonia will be headed for court.

What a great use of taxpayer money! Something continues to stink in Gas-town.

 

 

May 22, 2008 at 12:12 pm Leave a comment

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