Harbor Market to expand to Place de Douai
Well, it looks like the Harbor Market will be expanding to the Place de Douai starting on May 19th. The Board of Park Commissioners granted approval tonight to the Kenosha Common Markets, Inc., for the temporary use of the city’s power generator at that location. Also, on this week’s Public Works Committee meeting agenda, there is a request for the use of Place de Douai by the Kenosha Common Markets on Saturdays beginning on May 19, 2012, through October 13, 2012, for the Kenosha Harbor Market.
According to Ray Forgianni, “the grassy area in front of the museums was not good. We’re going to ruin the lawn if we continue to use it.” Forgianni is expecting 140 vendors every week this summer. “We will put the more seasoned vendors there, even though there is more of a problem with the wind there. There is no longer any power available over there.” Forgianni said that he had no objection to being charged every week for the use of the generator. However, he said, “no one ever charged us before. You need a schedule. There is no rhyme or reason as to who gets charged.”
Jeff Warnock, the city’s parks superintendent, stated that there is no conflict yet for requests for use of the generator. “Sometimes, we get requests for the use of it to go along with use of the showmobile. We did some checking, and Top Choice charges $95/day for the use of a generator, and Lincoln Contractors charges $112/day. So, we thought we’d use the lower of the two, and charge $95/day. The city would have priority for the use of the generator, though, over the summer months. The city would be losing revenue if we don’t charge.” Dirk Nelson, who works for the city’s Parks Department, stated that, “In previous years, we’ve juggled the use of the generator, like for Jazz Fest. The Parks Division has made it work. We would let one organization use it in the morning, for example, and another use it in the afternoon.”
Alderperson Anthony Kennedy moved that the commission approve the request with a recommended fee of $100/day. Alderperson Rocco LaMacchia agreed. He said, “There has been some flak from the community saying that Harbor Market is not paying their fair share. Well, this would go a long way in showing good faith that they want to pay their fair share.” Alderperson Lawrence Green stated that he was for it, but that he would be abstaining from the vote because he has been a vendor there in the past.
Chairman Michael Orth wanted to know what other uses the generator had. Warnock and Nelson gave the Rotary Baseball Tournament and the 4th of July as examples. Also, Penny Hainey has requested the use of the generator for Folk Fest. Orth wanted to know how many vendors use power. Forgianni understands that the Place de Douai has very limited electrical use. “There is a distribution problem. You can only be so far away. We are providing our own wires. They cost $150/cord. We bought turtle boxes as well.”
Orth stated that he wants to “provide power to the market to help them thrive and prosper and to assist you. There was to be a one million dollar ($1 million) upgrade to the Place de Douai to build an electrical tower. If there is a conflict, would you be able to organize to have non-powered vendors at the Place de Douai and powered vendors at the outlets?” Forgianni said that “this is not like a campground where people make reservations one year in advance. They pay to have power. Most like to be found in the same spot every week. It would be extremely complicated, a nightmare. It’s going to be complicated enough this summer with 140 vendors. We will only be using it from 9 am to 2 pm on Saturdays. I understand that Alderperson Jesse Downing has a spare generator, too.”
Orth asked Forgianni why he just wouldn’t go to Top Choice and rent the generator for $95/week and save $5 a week. Forgianni’s reply was the city staff has always been responsive. “If I had a choice, I’d go with the city.” Orth was also asking if a contract was needed. “If it’s needed, you need it. If you think we need something more indepth, a broader contract, that would be ok. If we could get approval tonight, that would be fine. If a contract is needed later, that would be ok. It’s a shame that we have a litigation community. Prepared food vendors would mostly be on Second Avenue. The worst that could happen would be that we’d have no entertainment,” stated Forgianni.
Orth stated that he also needs to give staff flexibility. He wanted the approval to be contingent upon checking with the city’s Legal Department to see if anything more needs to be clarified. He stated that he wants to avoid a legal law suit. He wanted the issue sent to Legal for their consideration.
The vote was approved by 4 to 0, with Green abstaining.
Check back on Wednesday for the Public Works Committee report on this issue.