Midtown Neighbors Association votes down 2014 Music Midtown application

By Maria Saporta

The Midtown Neighbors Association, the community most impacted by major events in Piedmont Park, has voted down the Music Midtown 2014 event plan and application.

The neighborhood association voted down the application at its board meeting on July 31 “due to safety, logistics, Piedmont Park wear/tear, and noise issues,” according to MNA board member Dana Persons, who wrote a post in the Next Door – Midtown East online network.

The neighborhood had been in discussions with the promoters of Music Midtown to try to come up with solutions to address some of its concerns.

Persons urged residents of the neighborhood to share their opinions with city leaders and to come to the NPU-E meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 5 at 6:30 p.m. at the Peachtree Christian Church at 1580 Peachtree St. N.E.

“The Music Midtown Festival is coming to Piedmont Park on September 19 and 20, 2014. 85,000 (2-day) tickets are on sale for the event and the AJC is projecting that up to a quarter million people will be visiting our neighborhood,” Persons wrote. “The City of Atlanta, the Atlanta Police Department, and Live Nation will be closing 19th Street and part of Charles Allen to host this private, gated event in our beautiful public Piedmont Park.”

She went on to say that the neighborhood association was concerned about the plans for traffic flow during the event.

“All traffic is proposed to be diverted off 10th Street and detoured onto 8th St. and Myrtle St. for the two-day event. This means that traffic for an anticipated quarter of a million people will be directed right past your house on that weekend,” she wrote her neighbors who are part of Next Door.

“As many of you know, it is already difficult to support two-way traffic on 8th Street and most residents that live on the street rely on street parking. Numerous safety and parking issues are anticipated,” she added.

From the tone of her note, it did seem as though Persons and the neighborhood association recognized that opposing Music Midtown would be an uphill battle politically.

“Please email or call your Mayor and Council members to express your personal concerns about this event and/or attend the NPU meeting this Tuesday,” she wrote, including the phone numbers and email addresses of Mayor Kasim Reed as well as the three at-large Council Members — Mary Norwood, Michael Julian Bond and Andre Dickens — as well as the two district council members who represent the area — Kwanza Hall and Alex Wan.

Before the board meeting, Persons had sent out this alert to the community:

REMINDER: Please note that Music Midtown’s Festival application will be heard by MNA’s License/Permits Committee this Wed, July 30, 6:30 pm @ Jason’s Deli (upstairs).

Music Midtown will come up for a vote/recommendation this Thurs, July 31, 6:30 pm @ Jason’s Deli (upstairs) at the MNA meeting. You may attend either meeting or write LicensePermits@MidtownAtlanta.org (cc: safety@midtownatlanta.org and traffic@midtownatlanta.org) with any further comments.

The City was presented with Midtown’s safety and logistics concerns and suggestions for improvement for Music Midtown 2014. Please see responses from the city and from APD’s Maj. Whitmire on the following link. Disappointing.

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/68k0fr7286rfv…

Here are some of the more interesting records from Music Midtown 2013, for some history.

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/ezq9usckx40w9…

Please note the following:

1. 2013 was permitted for 160K people, 3 stages, 1.5 days.

2. Live Nation paid the city $400K (have not seen where this money was allocated).

3. Live Nation hired and paid the Piedmont Park Conservancy $100K for consulting services.

4. 21 people in PPC are new (replaced?) and G. Dusenbury (Commissioner of parks) recently stepped down leaving quite a void of working history with this growing event.

5. Limits are in place for Oak Hill per letter (included in link) from Commissioner Dusenbury, however MM2014 will use Oak Hill in full.

6. Still awaiting records from Oct. 17, 2013 debrief, and actual ticket sales numbers and attendance.

Dana Persons

Block Captain

Midtown Neighborhood Watch

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.

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