Dew Downtown sparks controversy for second year
By Sara Graper
After being tabled for two weeks, Flagstaff City Council addressed the reoccurring controversy over the 2013 Dew Downtown Flagstaff Urban Snowboard and Ski Festival at the Oct. 16 meeting.
Dew Downtown is a snowboarding competition that takes places in on the streets of downtown Flagstaff. The first annual Dew Downtown took place last year on south San Francisco Street with an estimated 10,000 people in attendance. This year, the event is scheduled for the same location on Feb. 7 through 10.
The city council deliberated the closure of San Francisco Street between Birch Ave. and Dale Ave. — as well as use of Heritage Square. City officials also debated the approval of amplification exception for play-by-play commentary of the event on Feb. 10 between 9 a.m. and noon. Both waivers passed, but not without the input of some passionate Flagstaff community members.
Due to the location of the event, controversy has sparked from businesses as to if it will effect their revenue during the three day event. Last year’s event only broke even.
Mark Lamberson, owner of Mountain Sports, is in favor of Dew Downtown, and praised the 19 percent sales tax increase it brought in the previous year. He also stated, “It was an undeniable success,” and mentioned during the time the event takes places, it’s a historically slow season for all businesses, so it can only benefit everyone.
Yet Lynn Baker, downtown business owner, is against the event, and brought in a petition with 60 signatures of downtown business owners and people on San Francisco St., Leroux St., and cross streets. She says the deciding committee “really doesn’t care about who they inconvenience or who loses income”.
Despite re-using the name, there are currently no official sponsors of the 2013 Dew Downtown Flagstaff Urban Snowboard and Ski Festival.