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October 29, 2013
Muskegon Bike Time Board Responds to 2014 Festival Restructuring
After reading the many responses to the announced restructuring of Muskegon Bike Time, the Bike Time (BT) Board of Trustees would like to respond to some of the questions raised by those who read the article published on Mlive regarding the future of Bike Time, and share a brief history as to why the decision had to be made to restructure the event.
In 2011 Bike Time conducted a survey of patrons regarding their experience with the event. One of the questions in the survey focused on the placement of vendors. The over whelming majority of respondents indicated they would like to see the vendors off the streets and sidewalks and located in a “vendor court” of some configuration. Such an arrangement would make the streets safer for bikers and pedestrians and make it easier for patrons to take in all the vendor offerings in one smaller venue.
When the BT Board was first made aware of the plans to build a new Farmers Market at Terrace and Western, they were approached by those behind the move to the new location and asked not to publically raise objections to the move and the BT Board agreed. The BT Board members attended several public meeting and while objections were raised by others, the BT Board members kept their word and remained silent. The BT Board was assured that “Bike Time will be taken care of,” in return for not publically raising any objections.
Once the legal requirements were settled and construction began on the Farmers Market, the BT Board met with city officials to work out details for continuing Bike Time in its past format. At this point the BT Board was advised that the farmers had also been made certain promises if they did not publically object to the move, one of them being that no festival would interfere with any scheduled market day. In keeping this promise city officials indicated that Bike Time could not continue in its former format as doing so would interfere with the Farmers Market.
The BT Board worked out a plan that would accommodate both Bike Time and the Farmers Market, and bring additional revenue for the market. The BT Board members met with City staff and the mayor to work out the details. The plan stated that farmers who have paid the annual fee would operate as usual, and any “day rental stalls” not rented by farmers would be rented by Bike Time at the daily rate, or a rate agreed to, and used for Bike Time vendors. In addition Bike Time would promote the new Farmers Market in promotional material and event advertisements. This proposal included a traffic flow pattern that allowed ingress and egress for farmers and patrons and still maintain Steel Horse Alley. This plan would achieve the goals of moving the vendors off the street, increasing public safety, enhancing the overall experience of event patrons, free promotion of the new market and additional revenue to the city.
At the conclusion of the meeting, City staff agreed the basic plan was workable with some minor details needing to be addressed. Subsequent to that meeting one of the BT Board members met privately with the mayor on the Friday prior to the next city commission meeting, and the mayor assured him the plan would pass the commission.
At the commission meeting objections were raised, one of them being a section of the Farmers Market rules that prohibits sub leasing spaces, another that no farmers were present at the meeting in which the agreement was worked on. The farmers were not represented because city officials did not invite a representative as suggested by the BT Board. The agreement was tabled and another meeting was suggested between city officials, Bike Time, and the farmers. The meeting never took place between all three, only a meeting between city officials and two representatives from the farmers market. Bike Time officials were then informed that the farmers objected to the proposed plan and it would not be implemented. However, a Bike Time Board member had also met informally with 20 or more farmers at the market and found little or no objection to the plan to share the market during Bike Time. Nonetheless, the City Commission voted NOT to let Bike Time share the market space with the farmers.
After the new City Manager was hired city officials did work to propose an alternative route for traffic; Western to Third to Morris to Terrace, with a vendor location in the Morris Street lot. However when considering that the Famers Market is planning on using the Morris Street lot for customer parking and there is lack of water and power for vendors in that lot, the post office needs access for its mail trucks off of Morris Street, and access is also needed to the bus station, as well at the need to keep Third Street clear in front of the Holiday Inn for emergency vehicle access, the plan was not deemed workable.
At the same time, on another front, discussions were under way by the Community Foundation, Muskegon Area First, and the Muskegon Downtown Development Corporation to formulate rules for festivals that would apply to all festivals, including for example, what streets could be used for festival activities, and a fee structure for vacant lots. Also taking place were discussion at the county level to revise and add fees for the use of county property for festivals. As a result lots and properties that Bike Time had used for seven years were now priced at fees up to $750.00 per festival day. Add to the fees the fact that Bike Time has had to pay the entire cost of the police presence during the event, which runs over $30,000 per year.
In order for Bike Time to continue, given the constraints and cost of running this type of event something has to change. It is the intent of the BT Board that the event will continue with efforts to keep Steel Horse Alley intact. The BT Board expects that Western Ave will have the same look as in the past, with masses of motorcycles, but the vendors moved to smaller “vendor courts” off the streets and sidewalks. The “show will go on” as it has for the past 7 years with the intention to have Steel Horse Alley. Nevertheless given the refusal of elected officials to adhere to anything except the promises made to the farmers, despite promises made to Bike Time officials, changes are necessary for the event to continue and that is why the BT Board advised the City they would not need permits and resources to close Western Ave for vendors. In discussions with the City of Muskegon Public Safety Director, he has advised the BT Board that Western Ave would be closed during Bike Time as he has stated publically. Bike Time officials are well aware of the negative economic impact this could have on the local businesses if the City does not follow through and close Western Ave, but responsibility for that clearly rests with our elected officials. City officials formulated the rules for the Farmers Market and use of the streets (used as justification for not allowing a sharing of the market) and they can change them. Ultimately the future of this event and Muskegon rests with our elected officials.
Aug 15, 2013
Exteme Custom Bike Show Participants Move On To Milwaukee Show at the Harley-Davidson 110th
During Muskegon Bike Time 2013, two motorcycles from the Muskegon area qualified for the 110th AMD Invitational after competing in the Extreme Custom Bike Show at Hot Rod Harley-Davidson.
Mark Jacobs with his 2011 Harley-Davidson Street Glide and Scott Baugh’s 2010 Road Glide Custom. Both bikes will represent Hot Rod H-D and Hot Rod’s expertise in customization. We wish the best of luck to both, as they compete in Milwaukee Labor Day weekend.
The show will be held on the campus of the Harley-Davidson Museum during the Harley Davidson 110th Anniversary celebration. It is an invitation only event and will feature the top 28 Harley-Davidson builders in the country, with only four categories and seven bikes per category, the competition will be tough. The winner of the Milwaukee show wins a free trip to Germany to represent Team USA at the AMD World Championships.
TEAM RELENTLESS STREET BIKE TEAM STUNT SHOW presented by BABBITT'S
July 19th, 20th and 21st - 2013(Western Ave - Steelhorse Alley / between Jefferson St & Terrace Street)
Friday Times..........2pm, 5pm
Saturday Times.....Noon, 2pm, 4:30pm
Sunday Times........Noon, 2pm
Team Relentless Street Bike stunt motorcycle team will wow the crowd in their performances each day. This street bike stunt team will feature extreme wheelies, burnouts, and seemingly impossible stunts. Don't miss them trashing the streets with their stunts
PATRIOT RIDE - CLICK FOR ROUTE MAP
Sunday, July 21st - 2013
Take a great ride on the Lake Shore with routing legs betwwen Veteran's Organizations in Muskegon.
SAY THANKS TO ALL VETERANS!
Hot Rod Harley-Davidson Parking Lot
Registration Begins...........9:00 am (Hot Rod Harley)
Ride Leaves.....................10:30 am (Hot Rod Harley)
Ride Returns...................NOON (Western Ave.- Steel Horse Alley)
Take a ride with the Bike Time Grand Marshal for this charity ride while taking in the scenic sights of Michigan.