The deck-over at Marine Park is progressing along at a good clip so I figured it's time to start thinking about its summertime use. It was sold to us as a multi-use facility, sometimes a bus parking lot, sometimes a place for people. Most of the time it will be for bus use, there's no getting around that. However, I think if the people got to use this facility just 15% percent of the time that might be a fair trade-off. That would give us a whole day each week with no buses parking there. I think Saturday or Sunday would work for me.
I'm picturing something like Saturday Market in Portland. The city could provide booths (or space for a booth) for a small fee. Charge enough to cover the cost of setup, tear down and cleanup. A band in the covered area, food vendors, arts and crafts sales, every Saturday. It sounds fun.
To keep this from becoming a giant T-shirt shop geared only to tourists, there would have to be one rule, "Everyone is welcome to have a booth, except for pre-established businesses with a year-round store front that are not open in the winter." That should weed out the riff-raff.
People keep going around and around about how to bring locals back downtown. This sounds like a good way to start. It would help support some locals with the get-up-and-go to become vendors. It would be fun for local musicians who just want a place to play. It would be a great place to bring the kids and feel a sense of community.
I'm having a tough time seeing anyone but the bus and T-shirt shop owners being upset about this arrangement. The bus owners should keep in mind that we are still giving them the majority of the time with our multi-use facility. As to the T-shirt shop owners, they seem to be thriving all on their own.
Of course the tourists would be welcome to attend.