Thursday, August 27, 2009

Notes on Music in the Plaza

Despite the misgivings of some City Council members, the "Music in the Plaza" event is in its second year and Recreation Director Dave Wynn sees it as a permanent summer feature.

If it is to happen again, there are some aspects of the event that must be better handled.

Publicity: The event was publicized with colorful cards featuring the mayor's re-election image, a flyer on the city web site, this web site and other places. The information was not consistent. The movie time was listed as dusk, 9 p.m., 9:30 p.m. and 11 p.m. The car show was listed as 9 p.m., 5 to 9 p.m. or 5 to 11 p.m.
The location was listed as the plaza in front of the Park-Madison office building. But on Aug. 17, the council granted permission to close off an adjacent street, "East 2nd Street between Park and Madison Avenue" from 5 to 11 p.m. for the car show and movie. This location is, of course, on West Second Street.
The times of the two concerts were left off an initial printing of the cards, which then had to be reprinted with the times, noon to 2 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m.
The movie, "The Fast and the Furious," is rated PG-13 and was apparently not reviewed for content until bloggers raised concerns. An edited version will now be shown.

Logistics: One sticking point in council discussions of the event was the potential cost of setting it up, public safety coverage, dismantling the stage and seating and post-event cleanup. Given that it now spans 11 hours in two locations, these costs should be documented and be part of any discussion of future Music in the Plaza events. Also, while the plaza offers a clean line-of-sight for police coverage, the addition of the closed-off block to the south means extra coverage will be necessary. And where to park? Many people will come on foot, but for those who need to park, how about indicating the location of nearby lots? And since most are mainly permit spaces, how about waiving fines for the duration of the event?

Coordination: This event falls on the second day and evening of the final Downtown Summer Sidewalk Sale. Part of the reason offered for Music in the Plaza is to draw shoppers downtown, but there is no cross-publicity between the two events. Friday may serve as a test case on whether the Music in the Plaza event enhances downtown shopping or not.

All in all, the preparation for this event appears faulty. Dave Wynn is quoted as saying no taxpayer dollars are involved in the event. If so, then the sponsors have been ill-served by the confusing publicity.

The governing body attempted to get a bottom line on this year's event before giving approvals, but not all relevant details were offered up front. Obviously, city officials were determined to have the event no matter what. If it is to become a tradition, it must be better conceived and executed next year, with full disclosure of all aspects before the City Council is asked to grant permission.

--Bernice Paglia


Blogger Maria Pellum, Plainfield Resident said...

Or, the city council can act responsible and hold their votes until all information, in writing, is given.

8:42 AM  
Blogger olddoc said...

Once again OZian finance (fantacy) has been used to thrugh the wool over the Council's eyes. If one city worker did something on the project it cost the city something. Council should demand a bill Monday 9/7/09. And Not accept "getting back to"

Accountability goes with Transparency and also Motivation.

Do follow up om this.

9:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To olddoc - could not have said it better myself.

Come on city council, start taking the reins. This administration has proven time and again it cannot.

9:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where will the parking be for the event? Ask the Union County Improvement Authority and the administration about why Plainfielders can't use the 300 car parking deck on Park Madison yet. This was supposed to be available for people to use off hours and weekends based upon the Park Madison Development agreement. How come no action -- Charlotte, Gerry and Sharon --nearly 4 years after the project was completed?

1:56 PM  
Blogger olddoc said...

To 9:54 am Yes you could, you would have spelled "throw" right. I am nusy looking up in the dictionary the meaning of cybertype's word "thrugh". Neither of mine have it so it aint english.

2:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's no way taxpayer money is not involved if Dave Wynn and recreation staff are involved! Are they being paid from a separate account? What's funny is how the mayor has said not a peep about any of this. It's another embarrassment for her administration. This stuff isn't so hard to do if you have a skilled team in place. What does she have? A bunch of well-paid people who don't know how to put a simple event together. Jerry Green must be very proud. I'm already angry as a resident and taxpayer. If I were a business owner, I'd be doubly angry at the waste of effort that benefits me not one single bit. What, am I supposed to keep my business open at 9:30 in case someone wants to come in? The mayor doesn't even shop in the business district, for crying out loud! She shops in South Plainfield! What an insult!

8:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Maria Pelum, Plainfield Resident:
The Plainfield Council did hold it's vote on this. This was not voted upon by the City Council.

Please check your facts.

Another Plainfield Resident

11:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Due to the storm and rain, is this event still going to happen? How can we find out? Does city hall issue a press release?

11:31 AM  

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