The Queen Anne, Belltown, and Downtown business people are upset that Hempfest is going to exist and are couching it in complaints about the venue.
At the request of the BBA Board, BBA President Jim Miller joined with the Downtown Seattle Association and the Uptown Alliance in a letter to the City’s Office of Economic Development requesting that the City not issue a permit to Hempfest for use of Myrtle Edwards Park unless specific conditions are met.
The letter states that the size of Hempfest at 250,000 participants has outgrown the 4.8 acres of Myrtle Edwards as a safe and appropriate venue, that customer access to nearby waterfront businesses is closed off during the festival, and that noise, traffic, and trash are a direct impact to the surrounding residential neighborhoods.
We can’t have tourists coming to one of the most vibrant areas of the city? That would be a negative? It seems overblown to me, as someone who has never been to Hempfest.
And I suppose I have been negatively impacted: I once had to bike to Ballard using a different route! The bottom line is that the city functions just fine when Hempfest is going on. And the downtown location is a draw. People from out of state can find a hotel in walking distance, for example.
Also, one of their proposals — shortening the event to one day — seems counterproductive if the goal is to not crowd the park. I assume some people are only coming for one day. If the business groups got their way, instead of some of them going on Saturday and some on Sunday, they’d all come in on the same day.