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'Third Fridays' Strikes Out with HdG City Council

Proposal from Havre de Grace Main Street gets voted down.

The Havre de Grace City Council nixed a proposal for Third Fridays.
The Havre de Grace City Council nixed a proposal for Third Fridays.
The Havre de Grace City Council voted against having street festivals on the third Friday of the month, in addition to the monthly "First Friday" celebrations sponsored by Havre de Grace Main Street.

The downtown business organization proposed hosting the event starting May 16 and on third Fridays through the end of October, according to its application to the city.

The cost for six "Third Friday" events was $11,580, accounting for electricity and public works and police involvement.

It was not the money involved that deterred the council members, however, according to The Aegiswhich reported Councilman Joseph Smith was the lone proponent of the proposal on the dais.

Smith is also the only council member who owns a business in the Main Street district, as co-owner of Glyph Art and Design Studio on North Washington Street.

The following council members and business owners opposed Third Fridays for the following reasons, according to The Aegis:
Several others reportedly supported the proposal, citing the success of First Fridays as reason to bring even more people to Havre de Grace, with supporters including Havre de Grace Main Street President Steve Sheppard, Concord Point Coffee owner Carl Lucas and Laughing Crab Catering owner and Havre de Grace Seafood Festival organizer Lori Maslin.

On Tuesday, another business owner shared her thoughts on Facebook.

"I was taken back by by the outcome of last night's vote," Victoria Thanner, owner of Pizzazz, posted. "It is a proven fact that First Fridays attracts visitors to Hdg...As a business owner, holding events is a WIN WIN FOR THE ENTIRE town." Thanner, who is the promotions and events chair for Main Street, said she hoped business owners and the council could come to a compromise.

On the heels of the vote, some asked whether business owners couldn't just have Third Fridays anyway.

They could without blocking off the streets (necessitating city permission and incurring public works and police costs), according to Barbara Wagner, former city councilwoman, who co-owns Bahoukas on Congress Avenue and Bahoukas GreenJoy on Franklin Street. 

"I would love to see them continue to move forward with the great idea and convince retail business owners to keep their stores open 'til 9 p.m. on third Fridays," Wagner said.

In fact, Wagner helped launch a movement for stores to stay open on Thursday nights in the Franklin-Congress area so restaurant-goers would have someplace to shop, and merchants could reap the rewards.

"If the stores sign an agreement that they will stay open, Main Street could agree to market them and the event," Wagner said. "It would give visitors a reason to come downtown and shop after work. A win-win!!"

What do you think about Third Fridays? Tell us in the comments!
Harford County Native April 10, 2014 at 04:23 AM
Maybe the Have de Grace Main Street can get together with the businesses and get a list of the ones who will commit to the additional Friday event. If businesses want to do this then they should step up and let the council know they want to do this. Talk goes a little ways but action goes farther.
Kathy April 10, 2014 at 03:27 PM
I think the issue is the street closures. It does negatively impact many of the businesses. If customers cannot park near by or drive up to the door, they will not purchase heavy, large or bulky items.
Harford County Native April 10, 2014 at 05:01 PM
I believe if that business that sold the heavy bulky item would assist with getting it to the customers vehicle or allowances can be made to allow customer to bring the car or truck up to the business. If the businesses want more business they have to give a little to get something in return.
Harford County Native April 10, 2014 at 06:39 PM
Also if the businesses are closed anyway how is it going to impact them?

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