Note from the Editor | June 10, 2015
Everybody likes to talk about parking downtown. They’re either adamant that it’s totally fine, or that it’s a disaster and must be completely avoided. Neither opinion is probably true, but I tend to fall into the former camp, where I feel it’s really not that big of a deal to park downtown most times and that people are mostly lazy when it comes to walking. But I will admit, this summer we’ve got a bit of a challenge on our hands. Large-scale construction projects in multiple parts of town are adding to the strain, although temporarily. For the most part, though, it seems people are making it work, accepting minor sacrifices for the long-term good of the community. But in public discussions and media coverage about downtown’s current and future developments, there’s always a curmudgeonly group who claim nobody will go to any of the things being built because there’s nowhere to park. Well, I enter our Thursday night concerts in Phoenix Park as Exhibit A in this ongoing philosophical battle. This year, due to recently completed and in-progress building projects, parking is more challenging than ever for that event. Yet, at our first concert this season on June 4, we saw record crowds rivaling any of our biggest nights of the last 10 years. My point? If something is worth walking to, people will do it. If there’s a critical mass of interest and activity, people will find a way to get there. It’s the classic cliché, “If you build it, they will come.” No parking mess is going to stop the nearly 2,000 people who show up at our concerts every week. They’re coming whether there’s convenient parking or not, and I imagine the same will hold true for the Eau Claire Downtown Farmers Market. I feel this is a clear signpost on our community’s cultural path – we’re interested, we’re resourceful, and we’re ready for more. Let the march of progress continue.