Dear old and new friends, it is with deep disappointment that I have to share I am not participating in this year’s Beer Fest and as things are headed probably not the 4th of July Parade.
As many of you know, since my time working at the Martinez News-Gazette and even back to my beaver advocacy days, I have believed in your collective success in the downtown. I bristled when I heard negative comments regarding the downtown’s worth even though I personally did not have a brick and mortar there.
I have advocated for and lobbied for the reversal of one-way streets along with the installation of the dining platforms currently in place. I researched and found the platform systems currently in use saving you, the merchant, and our city 66% on costs and labor of what was originally proposed. And honestly those aluminum platforms did not fit into the aesthetics of our downtown.
Now days, whenever I see a new patio installation on a street outside of Main Street, I feel the same sort of pride a parent feels as I watch the rebirth of our downtown.
Along with Leanne we revived our 4th of July Parade and oversaw the staging and timing of the entrants as they entered the parade route. This quintessential Home Town event has grown each year and families line the streets hours ahead of parade time.
If you were a food or craft vendor at the Beer Festival, I was there loading you in, then walking through with both the Fire and Health Department freeing up the rest of our volunteer team to troubleshoot beer vendors and overall operations, ensuring when our event doors were officially opened, we all were ready.
Sometimes (a lot of times) I butted heads with folks and took a bit of a beating, but only because I believed, with every fiber of my being, that the changes I advocated for would work out for the benefit of all parties.
Although I’ve used a lot of “I” in this note, this isn’t about me and my disappointment, it’s about you and all the hard work we’ve collectively put into recreating the downtown as a destination.
The changes of last year, the cancellation of the Blues Festival, the Ice Rink and the overall lack of passion and energy we all have taken for granted and have come to expect is missing. As things stand now, I have a hard time believing we could have won the Benjamin Moore Paint What Matters contest, or have even been a consideration for Hulu’s Small Business Revolution. That dedication and passion is simply gone and that saddens me more than I can express.
If you’ve noticed the difference too and miss having that advocate in your court creating reasons for visitors to see what you’ve all been able to accomplish, I urge you to let the MSM Board of Directors know. Martinez is too special and all of your hard work too important to settle for less than what we had.
– Linda Meza