Austin group launching downtown entertainment eventPublished 6:26am Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Downtown Austin is about to get busier on Tuesday nights.
The Austin Downtown Alliance, a group formed last week, secured permission from the county board Tuesday to host weekly events for much of July, August and September on the county parking lot that used to be First Street NE.
The weekly events — called Tuesdays on Main — will debut Thursday, June 21, and will then run Tuesdays from July 10 through September from 5:30 p.m. until around 9 p.m. or sundown, according to organizer Kiersten Hall.
The events will be modeled after Rochester’s Thursday’s on First, and Hall said she already spoke with Rochester officials for advice.
“Our goal here is to make the Austin Downtown Alliance just like the Rochester Downtown Alliance,” Hall said.
With the Austin Farmers’ Market, Rochester’s Thursdays on First, and other events already ensconced on Thursday nights, Hall said the alliance is opting to host the majority of the events on Tuesdays.
Hall said she’s doing her best to not step on any toes, and she is already trying to ensure the weekly events won’t affect county staff or the Paramount Theatre. Since many Paramount patrons park in the lot during events, Hall said they may cancel on nights that conflict with Paramount shows.
“My goal of course is to make everyone happy and not make enemies,” she said.
The board unanimously approved the request, with conditions that the group handle liability insurance, address bathroom needs, and make sure the events don’t affect any county employees whose cars may still be in the parking lot after 5 p.m.
“I would support giving them a shot there, and hopefully it’s successful,” Reinartz said.
New group looking to better Austin
Tuesdays on Main will be the flagship project for the newly formed Austin Downtown Alliance, but it won’t be the only business of the group.
Despite the name, Hall said, the group is not limited to downtown. It’s for all of Austin and for future generations.
The group is seeking nominations for board members, and Hall said organizers are holding a meeting at 6 p.m. Monday in the Nemitz Building, 409 North Main St.
The meeting will be for organizers to explain what the group is all about and what kind of projects and action it will focus on.
“At the moment, ideas are still coming in,” she said.
Anyone is welcome to attend the meeting, and Hall said the group is hoping to attract community leaders and residents with a passion to be proactive in getting things done.
“If you have a fire in your belly, come on over,” she said.
Racine officials urge board not to accept values
Racine’s mayor and city council had a message for the county board Tuesday.
A letter written by Racine city officials was read at the county board meeting. The letter urges the board to address an “insurmountable tax issue” caused by the new commercial property valuations the county hired Vanguard Appraisals to complete.
In the letter, officials argue Vanguard — a Midwestern firm based out of state — did not take into account the small towns’ business climate.
In the letter, officials said the valuations would hurt the economies of small towns and urged the board not to accept the valuations.
No Racine officials were on hand, but County Coordinator Craig Oscarson read the letter.