SARASOTA, Fla. -- This holiday weekend marks the final time events will be allowed to take place Main Street until at least September 2015. It’s a change that has spurred mixed reaction from residents and local business owners.
It's July 4th, and the phone continues to ring at Wet Noses on Main Street, with customers trying to find out if Christine Baer's store and grooming center is open.
The previous night -- during the annual boat parade -- Baer wishes she had closed.
“The people are focused on the boat parade, which they should be,” she says. “They are not shopping they are here for the parade.”
Baer says it's actually bad for business anytime Main Street shuts down.
“The locals don't venture out. There's no place to go,” she says.
It’s the reason she supports the city's new moratorium on Main Street events.
The idea is to allow Main Street to flow unencumbered so our brick and mortar businesses continue to do well,” says Sarasota City Manager Tom Barwin.
Barwin says the city initiated the moratorium for reasons concerning new construction.
“By the fall, we could very well have over 1000 hotel rooms and 1000 new apartments under construction,” Barwin says. “So a lot of the surface parking will be consumed with construction vehicles, workers, and of course the State Street garage will be under construction.”
Then there's Laura Baron.
“I think it's a shame,” she says.
Baron, a Main Street restaurant worker, can't understand the move or why so many seem to support it.
“From a business stand-point, I think it takes away from the business,” Baron says. “Any person on the street is a potential new customer.”
Baer will welcome potential customers inside at anytime.
“We want them to come to downtown Sarasota, but we want it to be a winning situation for the merchants as well,” Baer says.
You may be asking yourselves -- what about Thunder by the Bay? What about all of the parades that have taken place here over the years? Those events -- the ones that have been going on for a long time -- will still be permitted.