YOLO SUN NEWS REPORT :
Interviews with several merchants within the two block span of Woodland Main Street surrounding Heritage Plaza (at Second Street) have revealed the City is meaningfully ignoring their previously filed letter — signed by fourteen (14) relevant merchants (please see below) — objecting to closure of Main Street between Second and Third Streets on Saturdays, until about 1 p. m., for purposes of locating the tiny and struggling Woodland Farmers’ Market.
One downtown business employee (born and raised in Woodland) couldn’t understand why the Farmers’ Market — with its presently (historically) slim profile — would not easily fit within the general Heritage Plaza area — going on to say that the Market’s abrupt closure of Main Street on Saturday mornings has definitely interfered with normal business traffic at a key time, indicating that “many of our customers come here from Davis and we’ve had confusion and complaints about this situation,” during recent months.
Consequent to receiving this letter about a month ago, the city reopened Second Street just southerly of Main Street on these occasions, but closure of Main Street remains, between Second and Third Streets.
Downtown merchants recounted recent (yet slight) contact with City officials, confirming the City’s intention to rebuff affected, complaining merchants and allow closure of Main Street for locating the market, during the remainder of this season (through mid-October), despite Woodland Mayor Tom Stallard’s previously stated intention of perhaps finding “another solution.”
Upon Stallard’s prior remarks, one downtown merchant had already (weeks ago) commented: “He’s just B***S****** us, he won’t change a thing. This is his baby.”
Also of great interest, it seems that some limited conversations between downtown merchants and City officials have revealed that the Woodland Farmers’ Market — manager — was supposed to – had agreed to – as a condition with the City, of this Main Street closure – have both polled affected downtown merchants about this proposal prior to its adoption / implementation and reported to the City with their responses and concerns.
No downtown merchants were ever so polled or advised by the market manager and it was a complete surprise to them when one Saturday morning in May — Main Street was suddenly closed to accommodate this market — according to several merchant accounts.
Apparently, Woodland City Hall officials never even followed up with the farmers’ market manager about such processes — upon which this Main Street closure was supposedly premised.
Clearly, neither the farmers’ market manager nor city hall fulfilled their (seemingly recognized) obligations toward the welfare of downtown merchants.
However, such significant failures of city policy and conduct will apparently not serve to deter the city from continuing on its course of further alienating these downtown merchants, who simply don’t believe there is any good reason for this Main Street closure.
Has this sort of thing happened before?
In 2012, a petition signed by thirty-six (36) downtown Main Street merchants (from Third to Elm Streets), directed toward then councilmember Stallard’s (council adopted) odd notion of painting downtown red curbs gray, was totally ignored by city hall.
These gray curbs led to a continuous calamity within downtown parking, warnings and citations — quadrupling — during the months following this sudden and confusing change to the downtown traffic system.
That petition, signed by the vast majority (36) of downtown Main Street merchants, was entirely ignored, swiftly disappearing into who knows where, similar to the instant case.
Today, fourteen (14) merchants upon only a few blocks of downtown Main Street are petitioning city hall for relief from its unnoticed and unnecessary (combined with its process failures — obviously unreasonable) closure of Main Street on Saturday mornings, when suitable alternatives clearly exist.
Downtown Merchants Endorsing The Letter To City Hall (published below):
The Gifted Penguin
Corner Drug Company
Oak Tree Antiques
Bella! Hair Salon
Jackson Medical Supply
Main Street Antiques
The House Dresser
The Cup and Saucer
Remember When Emporium
Dixie’s Paws and Claws
Woodland Gold and Sliver
Letter to Woodland City Hall :
Being strong supporters and contributors to the economic wellbeing of Downtown Woodland, we would like to address the First to Third Main Street closure every Saturday from 6am to 1pm, sometimes later. First, we must say we have been advocates of the Farmers Market and encouraged them to join us Downtown at Heritage Plaza. However, we are strongly opposed to closing Main Street every Saturday.
This closure has severely impacted our sales and access to our businesses in the following ways:
- No customers, therefore no sales.
- No sales, therefore no sales tax revenue.
- No parking availability for two full blocks, barriers send customers off of Main Street away from businesses and a majority of our Saturday customers are those driving down Main Street.
- Allowing market vendors to park on Main Street obstructs the view of businesses from potential customers.
- Lunch time is generally the peak of Saturday business, Main Street being shut down until after 1pm has caused a massive decline in that business.
- Access to businesses is limited to walking traffic only and many of our customers are elderly and not highly mobile.
- There are no vendors between Second and First Street even though the street is closed.
- The market is small and does not draw a large number of customers.
- Market customers have proven that they generally only shop at the market and not our businesses.
- During summer the majority of our business is done in the morning when it is cooler, Main Street being shut down prevents much of this.
We are deeply offended that the city would make the important decision to close Main Street every Saturday through summer and into fall without any discussion with the businesses directly affected by the closure. Also, none of the affected businesses were notified in any way whatsoever about the closure leaving us to find out on our own on the first day of the Farmers Market. The impact of this unilateral decision has definitely injured our relationship with the city, a partnership that we have enjoyed and appreciated over the years.
As you know, we have always been proponents of a clean, safe, family friendly atmosphere in our Historic Downtown. We have been instrumental and supportive of one time street closures for special events that draw a large crowd, such as Trick or Treat on Main, Stroll Through History, Christmas Parade, the recent vintage car show, Movies on Main, etc. We have always encouraged other groups to use Heritage Plaza and the adjacent parking lot for special events. Downtown businesses have endured successive Main Street closures for curb repair, street repair, building of the courthouse, sidewalks, etc. It has been difficult and negatively impacted our businesses and sales, but was necessary while closing Main Street on Saturdays for the market is not.
We are asking that you communicate with Main Street businesses before considering any street closure that would directly affect us. We also request that the Farmers Market move back to Heritage Plaza or Freeman Park, as soon as possible, for the convenience of our customers and the overall wellbeing of the businesses that have chosen to operate on Main Street. We do welcome the Famers Market to our Downtown as a partner in our business relationship.