Suc­cesses due to hard work by busi­nesses, not town coun­cil

This let­ter was sent to La Plata Town Coun­cil­man Lynn Gil­roy. A copy was sent to the Mary­land In­de­pen­dent.

Maryland Independent - - Community Forum -

The busi­nesses of La Plata are glad that you feel our Shop La Plata event was an “out­stand­ing suc­cess,” as you noted in the re­cent Town Notes. How­ever, we would like to clar­ify for our town res­i­dents that many busi­nesses do not feel that the town coun­cil is “fos­ter­ing a bet­ter re­la­tion­ship with busi­nesses and en­cour­ag­ing peo­ple to shop La Plata,” es­pe­cially not re­gard­ing this suc­cess­ful event.

Let me high­light the roles the town played in the La Plata Busi­ness As­so­ci­a­tion’s Shop La Plata event:

• The town de­nied our re­quests for a mora­to­rium dur­ing the hol­i­day sea­son that would al­low lo­cal busi­nesses to freely ad­ver­tise their ser­vices, spe­cial events and com­mu­nity sup­port. Such a mora­to­rium was pro­vided in 2015 with much suc­cess;

• The town also de­nied our re­quests to hang “Shop La Plata” ban­ners over Charles Street de­spite hav­ing re­ceived ap­proval from the State High­way Ad­min­is­tra­tion (who main­tains the road) and SMECO (who owns the poles the sign would be at­tached to). Th­ese ban­ners were al­lowed in 2015 due to the sign mora­to­rium; how­ever, in 2016, the town de­cided it was too dif­fi­cult to de­ter­mine cri­te­ria to be used in the ap­proval of events wor­thy of street ban­ners and there­fore will now deny all street ban­ner re­quests. Event co­or­di­na­tors then had to by­pass town gov­ern­ment and seek ap­proval from county com­mis­sion­ers to dis­play in­for­ma­tional sig­nage on county gov­ern­ment fences and pri­vately-owned prop­erty out­side of the Town of La Plata; and

• We were happy and grate­ful to have the town par­tic­i­pate in our hol­i­day pa­rade by rid­ing on the fire truck gra­ciously do­nated by the La Plata Vol­un­teer Fire De­part­ment. How­ever, your pa­rade ap­pli­ca­tion stated Santa Claus would be rid­ing on the truck with you. But you were un­able to pro­vide Santa Claus on the day of the pa­rade.

We re­al­ize the town coun­cil elec­tion is quickly ap­proach­ing and it is tempt­ing to credit your­self for the many pos­i­tive hap­pen­ings in the town over the last sev­eral years. But let’s re­frain from rewrit­ing his­tory. Th­ese are just a few ex­am­ples of the mayor and town coun­cil’s lack of sup­port for lo­cal small busi­ness. There are many other ex­am­ples that could be eas­ily cited.

The mem­bers of the La Plata Busi­ness As­so­ci­a­tion and all the busi­nesses of La Plata have worked ex­ceed­ingly hard over the last sev­eral years to make our events suc­cess­ful. Our suc­cess is not a re­sult of your in­volve­ment, but de­spite it.

Keith Grasso, La Plata The writer is the owner of Is­land Mu­sic Com­pany.

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