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Not Too Festive Over Festival

Bob Miller

June 11, 2002

A couple of weeks ago Frederick was fortunate enough to have one of those great weekends to see the wonder that is the Carroll Creek Project.

I mean the weather was great. The sun was shining. There was a nice breeze.

What a day to see the William Cochran paintings on the bridge.

I mean, if you want to see some of what the great City of Frederick has to offer, what would you do? Take a stroll along Carroll Creek, of course. But there was a problem. The area was chained off and you had to pay $7 to see the sights.

You see they were having the Festival of Arts that weekend.

I don't want to give the ninth annual Frederick Festival of The Arts a bad rap, but Carroll Creek is an area that has been paid for with taxpayers money and, yet, for me to view it on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon in June you had to pay $7 if you're an adult. To me, that's just not right.

How many millions of our dollars have gone into the Carroll Creek project? How much of your city taxes have gone to this project? How much of your state taxes went into it.

Did former Mayor Ron Young, whose brain child the Carroll Creek project was, envision this?

Taking something that was meant for everyone to enjoy and then charging them to see it, even if it only for a couple of days. Even if it is for the greater good of Frederick, just seems wrong.

Which leads to me to my next question. Where does this money go? Do the math. Let's just say that out of the 20,000 thousand who attended only 18,000 were adults at $7 a pop. That's $126,000. If all the 20,000 paid the $7, then we are talking $140,000.

Now I'm sure that the money goes for many great projects in the City of Frederick. Maybe the money goes to the city concert series, maybe to fund other art projects, I really don't care. What I do care about is public funded areas being fenced in and charging people to walk around and buy stuff from people who paid to be there.

What if a family wanted to take a quick day trip from - let's say Harrisburg - and they have heard so much about the Carroll Creek Project from their friends. So they pack up the 2.5 kids in the minivan and head to our fair city. They find parking (which is a whole other column) and they walk towards Carroll Creek only to find it's going to cost them $25 to walk along the creek.

Is that right? Should the Frederick Festival of The Arts be allowed to basically hold the creek and all it's splendor hostage. I don't think so. Then again, that's why I stopped going.

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