For the past 22 years the Lower Bowl Parking Lot at 3rd Avenue and E Street has been the home of the Anchorage Market and Festival. Hundreds of thousands of locals and tourists from around the world have visited and loved the Market/Festival. Since its modest start, the Market/Festival has grown in amenities, products and popularity making it a popular destination for tourist and locals alike, becoming Alaska's most attended summer event. Furthermore, the Market/Festival creates about 300 full time equivalent jobs for Anchorage area families.
Since 1999, the Anchorage Market & Festival has been operated by Webb's Consulting & Management Services, Inc. Our current seven year agreement ends September 30, 2013. In a meeting with the Anchorage Downtown Partnership and the Anchorage Community Development Authority (ACDA), the Downtown Partnership "invited" us to partner with them to move the Market/Festival to 4th Avenue. Webb's expressed disinterest in any move to 4th Avenue, then were told by our landlord, Anchorage Community Development Authority, that the Market/Festival will be given no more than a one year extension because the ACDA wishes to explore other opportunities for the lot.
Moving the Market/Festival to 4th Avenue on Saturdays away from our home at the Lower Bowl Parking Lot at 3rd Avenue and E Street will kill the Market/Festival. It has been tried on 4th Avenue on Wednesdays in the past and was not successful. If the Market/Festival were to move to 4th Avenue it would be reduced in size; would eliminate Sundays, and likely have a shorter season. After 15 years of dealing with this issue, downtown merchants and their representatives, we have no doubt that the Market/Festival, if moved to 4th Avenue, will be declared a failure and killed.
The Municipality commissioned three separate studies between 2004 and 2006 to determine the financial impact of the Anchorage Market & Festival as well as where the best place is for its location. All three study groups concluded that the Market/Festival has a very positive effect on Anchorage's economy, including downtown businesses, and should remain in its home at 3rd Avenue and E Street.
The Anchorage Market & Festival IS a world class event attracting a HUGE number of people to downtown Anchorage. It has become a destination for many visitors who now spend an extra day in Anchorage because of the Market/Festival. The Market/Festival serves the Anchorage public well and does not charge an entry fee, provides fun and shopping; encourages Made in Alaska, Silver Hand and Alaska Grown production; allows non-profits to raise needed funds and visibility for their organizations; provides an audience for local musicians and entertainers to display their talents on stage and in the aisles; and brings jobs and business opportunities to hundreds of Anchorage area residents. The Market/Festival costs the Muni nothing...in fact the Market/Festival pays rent for the space which is much higher than the parking lot takes in on a day when it is full of parked vehicles. What's broke? Why are they trying to kill the Anchorage Market & Festival?
What can you do to help? Contact the board members of ACDA and Mayor Sullivan. Call, email or write them and tell them you support the continuation of Anchorage Market & Festival in the Lower Bowl Parking Lot. Communicate to them how much you love the Market/Festival and the importance of the Market/Festival for the community.
You may also want to write letters to the editors of local papers and bring the subject up on local talk shows. Do be positive in your correspondence with anyone regarding this matter, but be adamant that after 22 years of success the Anchorage Market & Festival has earned the right to stay and continue in the Lower Bowl Parking Lot.
This Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 4:00PM the Anchorage Community Development Board of Directors will meet to decide the future of Anchorage Market & Festival. Let them know how you think they should vote before that date. Anchorage Market & Festival has earned the right to use the parking lot at 3rd Avenue and E Street. Kill Anchorage Market & Festival? Ask them WHY?
Following are the current members of the ACDA Board. These are the folks who, along with input from Mayor Sullivan, will decide the future of Anchorage Market & Festival. In addition to the board there is the ACDA staff under the direction of Ron Pollock, Executive Director, who will provide information and recommendations to the board.
Make your opinions known to the Mayor and the Board Members of the Anchorage Community Development Authority.
Mayor Dan Sullivan
632 W 6th Avenue, Suite 840, Anchorage, AK 99501
Board of Anchorage Community Development Authority
245 West 5th Ave Suite #122, Anchorage, AK 99501
The ACDA Board members are:
Bill Webb Dana Reese Lukia White