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Met Park concerts go on, for now
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Met Park concerts go on, for now

Met Park concerts go on, for now
Photo Credit: Stephanie Brown
Many people spoke against an ordinance that would have stopped ticketed events at Met Park at the City Council public hearing on the issue January 22.

Met Park concerts go on, for now

Jacksonville’s City Council has withdrawn an ordinance that would have banned the 12 ticketed events at Met Park.

“It was a good idea to withdraw the bill. It was, let’s say, not very well thought out,” says City Council President Bill Bishop.

Originally, the Council was set to hold a public hearing on the bill Tuesday night.  After a number of speakers talked about the loss of business and revenue, as well as the difficulty that would mean for planning events in the works right now, Councilman Don Redman- who sponsored the bill- first wanted to amend the legislation to allow events already under contract to continue forward despite the bill.

Eventually, however, he decided that the best course of action was to “withdraw the bill and start over”.

Instead, City Council will form an ad hoc committee to look in to Met Park as a venue.  Councilwoman E. Denise Lee will chair the committee, and other members expected to serve on include Councilmen Johnny Gaffney, Reginald Brown, Kimberly Daniels and John Crescimbeni- who all showed an interest in getting more information during tonight’s hearing.

For those residents bothered by the noise from these events, they hope Council sees the full impact the concerts can have.

“People haven’t been able to have a peaceful time, you know, at their homes to work on their homework, to do extra work, to go to bed at night, to have a quiet meal,” says South Shore resident Jeannine Balankey.

Balankey told me she knew what she was getting in to when she moved in to the area, but the length of concerts has become an issue.

“I like live entertainment, I go to live entertainment, but it’s just the length of time and the loudness,” she says.

Knowing those are the issues at hand and getting to come to the table, however, means concert promoters are willing to give.

“We’re here to try to work something out with them and it seems like we’re gunna find a compromise,” says promoter Danny Wimmer.

Wimmer owns Danny Wimmer Presents, a Los Angeles-based company that promotes for shows like X 102.9’s The Big Ticket and Rock 104.5’s Welcome to ROCKVILLE.  He has personally invested his money in the market, and his company has put in millions as well.

“It’s a place where I want to continue growing the music scene here,” he says.

And making that investment yields jobs.  Several speakers Tuesday night were focused not on the music, but business that these concerts bring.  Having the big events means people traveling in to town and staying in hotels, buying gas and eating at local restaurants. The lease and permit for the shows also benefit the city, and there are vendors, security, and other workers who are on the job during the event itself.  Wimmer says taking the event away would have a significant ripple effect.

And ultimately, it’s something the council agreed with.

So now they will start to look at some of the changes we can put in place, and those that need to be studied more.  For example, Wimmer says they will more strictly enforce the time a concert must end, or even consider moving up that cutoff on a Sunday night.  He says they can also look at having morning sound checks start later in the day.

That’s the discussion Redman says he wanted to happen all along.

“Most of them [my constituents] did not want to stop it completely either, they just wanted to be able to sleep on a Sunday morning,” he says.

He told me this bill served to effectively get people’s attention, although he did apologize if some were offended by the proposal.  He hasn’t ruled out re-working the legislation, but says he wants to let the committee play out first and see the recommendations it comes up with.

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