Why has Heritage Fest shut down Ypsi’s main thoroughfare into Depot Town, starving businesses?

I’ve made it a rule these past several years, for various reasons, not to weigh in on Ypsilanti’s annual Heritage Fest. When the following was forwarded to me, though, I felt compelled to share it. It’s one thing to close down streets when activities are planned, as they have been in years past, but I don’t see any logical reason this….

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12 Comments

  1. Posted August 26, 2017 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    From Aubree’s owner Sandee French on Facebook:

    I just want to echo what Steve Gross said. Depot Town has been involved in HF from the very first year through funding, volunteers, creative ideas and involvement. HF was a huge success. For years the Rubber Ducky Race had its headquarters in DT. There was a live band in the parking lot that rocked!!! We did our part but everything has a life span and in my opinion, it was time to call it a day. Even the event organizers thought last year was a wrap. But the past has nothing to do with this weekend. The organizers who decided to prolong our community fest knew what was where and made the decision to allow DT to look like a ghost town. I understand there will be something in the streets today, and we welcome it but please know, we aren’t asking for a handout, just business-like decisions that affect our customers and the way we approach business every day of the year!

  2. Posted August 26, 2017 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    For those of you on Facebook, you’ll find the thread here.

  3. Posted August 26, 2017 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    Also, FYI… Councilman Pete Murdock says he’s looking into it.

    Murdock just posted, “I do not know what the thinking was on closing Cross Street. I am trying to find out.”

  4. Bob
    Posted August 26, 2017 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    Sandee does not own Sidetrack. Linda.

  5. Posted August 26, 2017 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    Ha… Good catch, Bob. Much appreciated. My brain was going pretty fast, but apparently my fingers were going even faster.

  6. Posted August 26, 2017 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    From a conversation on my Facebook page:

    PERSON: Weren’t the business asked/encouraged to be a part of the festivities? Seems like food tents and outdoor seating should’ve been a part of the closed streets. Seems like a big waste of space…..? Or at least let folks park along there.

    BUSINESS OWNER: A volunteer came in the night before to “remind” me that the street was closing & that we were encouraged to have things in the street. That was the first I’d heard of it, but perhaps if others sought out the planning meetings they had different intel?

  7. Posted August 26, 2017 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    THE SAME BUSINESS OWNER….

    People who love HF: “Hey, don’t be so negative, it’s good for your business.”
    Me: “But last year I grossed $50 on Saturday.”
    People who love HF: “But it’s really good for your business.”
    Me: “Ok, we’ll call it Take Your Liquor to Work Day”
    People who love HF: “That’s better.”

  8. Posted August 26, 2017 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    ANOTHER DEPOT TOWN BUSINESS OWNER: We had the same volunteer the evening before. No one told any of us about any kind of meetings we would be invited to.

  9. Bob
    Posted August 26, 2017 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    There are so many headaches associated with having a storefront in Depot Town. I especially hated the classic car events. Those guys are mostly fucks. Monopolize the parking and don’t spend a dime. Scream at kids who get within twenty feet from their stupid cars. Terrible.

  10. Posted August 27, 2017 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been working in the garage all day. Here are a few more comments that I have been left on the Facebook thread.

    ANOTHER DEPOT TOWN BUSINESS OWNER: I feel bad for everyone involved. You have volunteers attacking the depot town merchants on social media for speaking out about a closed street with nothing, absolutely nothing, in it. That will for sure get them a lot of volunteers next year. We all know that when you are asked to volunteer, it all depends on who’s asking. That being said, we are all community volunteers who have put in countless hours at the heritage Festival and many other festivals for many years. I am hoping that the chair of the festival, Les Heddle, will tell us what really happened as there is a little backstory here.

    YET ANOTHER DEPOT TOWN BUSINESS OWNER: This is kind of unrelated, but I am completely astounded that the ONLY heritage-y thing the festival had was this AMAZING band [http://wccband.org/townband.html]. And, unfortunately they set them up right next to the helicopter. They’re using old microphones, speakers and instruments…. clearly quieter than, say some of the beer tent loud bands. Every 2 minutes exactly, the copters landed and took off again, directly behind them. I think this puts the nail in the coffin for this weekend. How disrespectful. Literally the only great thing about this (I struggle to say heritage) fest, was demolished by helicopter sounds every 2 minutes. They’re clearly doing it wrong.

    LOCAL PERSON: While we are piling on… Yesterday a driver flagged us down near the keg on Huron, asking how to get to East cross street. She needed to pick something up at a depot town business. We ended up advising her to just park at the keg and walk to depot town, since the road was closed and parking closer costs $5. Not ideal. I’d like to say it’s only one weekend a year but that road is closed a lot.

  11. Posted August 27, 2017 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

    And here’s another comment. This one wasn’t left on my thread, but it was left by someone who occasionally comments on this site.

    ANOTHER LOCAL PERSON: Thank You Organizers! I enjoyed the festival. I visited each day. I was lucky enough to catch the girls choir from Lincoln High School singing acapella at Riverside Park. They were well rehearsed and poised in their performance, Bravo! Funk Opus at the Ampitheater on Frog Island just killed it and seeing our eclectic community digging music and dancing in our park was a joy. As with all things there is room for improvement and you’ll never make everybody happy. Thank you for all your hard work I had a great time!

  12. Posted August 27, 2017 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

    For what it’s worth, I was working all weekend and didn’t attend. Clementine, however, went twice. And both Arlo and Linette went once.

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