MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) - Several downtown business owners say they lose big money when big events shut down the streets of downtown Macon.
As it stands now, an event promoter can virtually notify business owners they'll be closing the streets in a matter of hours, as was the case during the recent filming of two major motion pictures.
City councilman Rick Hutto proposed legislation that would require a week notice plus a $50 application fee to be paid by the event host, but that legislation was vetoed by Mayor Robert Reichert, because "Need for Speed," which was filming at the time, would have had to pack up and leave town.
Now, Hutto is ready to present a new ordinance to the Public Properties Committee on Tuesday.
"The liability issues for the various groups--be it Cherry Blossom, Bragg Jam, or anybody else who's sponsoring an event--has been removed," says councilman Larry Schlesinger. "That put a certain amount of financial pressure upon them."
Thursday, the two sides hashed out their issues in a meeting put on by Main Street Macon at Terminal Station.
"Sometimes, just being able to talk about it in an open forum helps people to understand where everybody's coming from," says Mechel McKinley with Main Street Macon.
Tim Oblegoner, general manager of the Hummingbird State and Taproom, says he's fine with streets closing as long as the events bring in people to his business.
"I'd heard some rumors about some legislation that was being crafted that would be very restrictive when it came to getting a special event permit," he says. "I just wanted to make sure that wasn't the case."
Terrell Sandefur, with the Macon Film Commission, reminded the room they wouldn't even be having this discussion ten years ago.
"People want to have events downtown," says McKinley. "People want to come downtown and enjoy our beautiful architecture and our venues and our restaurants. Really, it's about success. It means that our downtown is growing and revitalizing the way we want it to."
Some of the business owners say they've been given some notice before street closures, but it's not always consistent or accurate. They suggested starting a text/e-mail alert service or showing pending permit applications on the city's website.
The Public Properties Committee will discuss Hutto's proposed ordinance on Tuesday.