A discondant note
Village urged to stage free concerts on weekend afternoons rather than Friday, Saturday nights
WARWICK — The Warwick Village Board will consider scheduling more summer concerts on weekend afternoons and fewer on Friday and Saturday nights to alleviate concerns among some downtown restaurant owners that the free concerts in Railroad Green Village Park cost them business.
Trustee Eileen Patterson told the Village Board on Monday that five of seven village restaurant owners she surveyed said foot traffic and profits are "adversely affected" by the free concerts.
Patterson said four of the restaurants routinely offer live music on Friday and Saturday nights, so they'd prefer to see the free concerts scheduled for Saturday and Sunday afternoons.
Two of the restaurants that claimed to be adversely affected are also concert series sponsors, Patterson said. "It's sort of a double-edged sword" for them, she said.
The Village's 2013 free concert series featured 16 free concerts beginning in early June and ending in mid-September. Nine of the concerts were on Saturday nights and four were on Friday nights.
The Village Board allotted approximately $19,000 to subsidize the concert series in its 2013-14 budget, which expires on June 1. The board will approve the 2014 free summer concert series during its upcoming 2014-15 budget deliberations.
Mayor Michael Newhard said Patterson's survey included "great information that we need to really think about so restaurants will not be adversely affected."
However, he questioned the need to schedule all concerts for the afternoons. "Just afternoons?" he asked. "I don't know if that is optimal."
Newhard said the board could schedule more concerts for Sunday nights and other less "optimal" nights, but it should not back completely away from offering free Friday and Saturday night music in the park.
"Once a month, is that going to decimate somebody's business? I don't think so," he said. "We have to remember why people go downtown. Some people can't afford to go to a restaurant but they can afford a free concert."
By John Haughey
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