City: Plumbers yes, crafters no
Council makes no changes in policy for Bancroft Park

       As he had promised, Jackson Ivey took his case to City Council Oct. 12. Also as promised, the owner of the company that puts on craft fairs in Bancroft Park is still trying to change the new City Parks policy that limits summer Saturdays for crafters in Bancroft to once a month - even after he failed to win council support.
       Arguments by Ivey and two crafters during the “citizen discussion” segment of the formal meeting Oct. 12 did not result in any council members saying they were changing their minds. The new policy had been set by a consensus of council at the Sept. 26 informal meeting at the urging of District 3 Councilman Jerry Heimlicher, whose district includes Old Colorado City.
       Ivey did leave the meeting hopeful, noting he'd heard Mayor Lionel Rivera say at one point that a “public process” was underway regarding a Bancroft policy. However, later in the discussion, after City Parks Director Paul Butcher reminded council of their Sept. 26 direction, Rivera said, “I misspoke earlier when I said we're going through a public process.”
       In any case, Ivey said he plans next to seek support from the Colorado Springs Parks Board at its meeting Thursday morning, Oct. 13. He believes he can prove the issue is about Old Colorado City merchants shutting out crafters because of “greed,” as opposed to Heimlicher's premise that the crafters are hurting merchants' business and crimping Westsiders' use of a prominent park. He said he has 800 signatures on a pro-crafter petition.
       Nancy Sto-vall, president of the Old Colo-rado City Associates (OCCA) merchants group, said the merchants' situation needs to be respected because of the overhead involved in running shops from fixed locations.
       Crafters, by contrast, pay $25 to sublease space from Ivey's company (called JEI) for a booth at each fair in the park. Ivey, who pays the standard daily fee of $75 to lease the park from the city, has said those rentals earn him some money, but not much, and his chief goal is to support local crafters.
       He did not express enthusiasm afterward for a compromise solution that was suggested by Jim Fenimore, president of the Organization of Westside Neighbors (OWN), and also backed by Heimlicher. That compromise suggested moving Ivey's craft fairs - organized through his company, JEI - to different city parks through the summer. Ivey said he prefers to remain at Bancroft, where JEI held fairs on 12 Saturdays over the summer months. He explained that he has a compromise of his own, which is to let the craft group have the park two Saturdays a month. That policy was used in 2004 and seemed to work out well, Ivey said.
       One of the crafters, Marge Roberts, told council, “I would hope the Westside association (the merchants group) and the vendors can pull together, negotiate and make it (the fair) grow into one of the best spots to go on a Saturday afternoon.”
       After hearing the citizen comments, Heimlich-er, addressing the crafters, said, “This isn't about you. We're not trying to take away your livelihood. It's about a park that's become dominated every Saturday all summer long by crafters in a retail district that's filled with tourists. Obviously, I understand why you'd want to be there. But there are people along the street who are paying taxes, utilities and employees that you're in direct competition with.”

Westside Pioneer article