Third Street, Naples, FL
NAPLES — Third Street South, get ready to rock.
The biennial Naples Music Festival once again will be taking over the popular downtown Naples street in 2010.
But the decision allow a nonprofit organization to shut down Third Street South didn’t come easily.
Naples City Council voted 5-2 to allow the Garden of Hope and Courage to host the Naples Music Festival on Third Street South.
The concert is scheduled for Sunday, March 21, from 4 to 10 p.m. Third Street South from Broad Avenue South to Thirteenth Avenue South will be closed. The Garden of Hope and Courage has yet to release its lineup for the 2010 event.
Councilwoman Dee Sulick and Councilman Bill Willkomm cast the dissenting votes.
The street closure is unlike others in the city because the Garden of Hope and Courage charges admission, rather than asking for a donation, for access to the street.
“I don’t believe (this is) an appropriate venue for this type of fundraising,” Willkomm said. “It should be in a less public area.”
Some downtown residents raised concerns following the 2008 concert when they said they were denied access to the street because of the admission. Jenah Victor-Smith, current chairwoman of the community services advisory board, was among those residents who complained.
Victor-Smith raised concerns again last week at the advisory board’s meeting, saying she hoped event organizers addressed the issues before the next concert.
Amy Lane, the event organizer, said the organization could do a better job educating the security guards about whether people can be on the street.
“It is our hope that anyone coming down will want to buy a ticket to support the cause,” Lane told council. “But if someone comes and says ‘I can walk down the street,’ we will have to respect that.”
The music festival debuted in 2004 as a way to raise money for the garden. The event has featured the Pointer Sisters, the Commodores and Cheap Trick. The 2010 concert will allow concertgoers to listen to a variety of music on two separate stages.
The event cost $40 for general admission, while VIP passes cost $350.
Naples City Manager Bill Moss last week said the city has the ability to shut down a street for a fund-raising event like this if they deem fit.
“It’s legal,” he said. “Rights of way are granted to the public, but City Council is speaking on behalf of the public.”
The garden — located on 21⁄2 acres near the intersection of Eighth Street and Second Avenue North — replaces an informal garden donated to the hospital by Lavern Norris Gaynor in the 1980s.
Built in memory of Jan Emfield, who died of breast cancer in 1994, the garden is meant to treat the whole body — mind, body and spirit.
Lane told council members Wednesday all of the proceeds from the event go toward the garden.
“We’ve been able to build a unique event in the community,” Lane said of the event.
Connect with Naples reporter Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster at www.naplesnews.com/staff/jenna_buzzacco