The car show will go on.
Naples City Council this morning reaffirmed its decision to allow the Ferrari Club of Naples to host its annual show on Fifth Avenue South in February 2012.
City Council on June 1 approved the request – which would close off Fifth Avenue South from U.S. 41 to Third Street South from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Feb. 11 – after event organizers reassured council they were not forcing visitors to downtown Naples to pay a fee to get on to the street. The city has received complains in the back, and event organizers earlier this month “assured City Council the planning of the 2012 event would include solutions intended to address previous citizen complaints.”
But hours after approving the request, council members asked that it come back for reconsideration after a Fifth Avenue South Business Improvement District spokesman stated the organization objected to roping off the street and collecting donations.
Those donations, event organizer Steve Cantera said today, went to the Von Liebig Art Center, the Special Needs Children's Fund and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in 2011.
Council members this morning said they respected the improvement district's concerns, but said events like the annual Ferrari show draw thousands of people to downtown each year.
“I've been concerned for years about this event … but its come a long way,” said Councilman Gary Price. “I don't think we're doing a very good job of trying to welcome the event here for one day.”
It wasn't all good news for the Ferrari Club of Naples though. While the organization had previously not paid booth fees, council members this morning said the club needs to start paying those fees for money-making booths – like concession stands – on the street.