Some business owners would like to see changes to Open Air Weekends

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The second year for Open Air Weekends in Amherstberg led to several residents and business owners letting officials know they'd like to see the event continue in 2022.

But some believe to make the event even better in the future, changes need to be made.

Jen DeLuca, a co-owner of Waterfront Ice Cream, says they support the idea but just not the current format.

"None of us are opposed to the concept of Open Air, it's a really good concept, there's just some logistical problems and frequencies that negatively affect many of the businesses," she continued. "50 per cent of the businesses are negatively impacted by Open Air's street closures and we're willing to come to the table with a better plan."

DeLuca says to this point it's been frustrating trying to work with council on the topic however.

The event runs from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Fridays, and Saturday beginning at 4 p.m. until Sunday at 11 p.m.

She says they changed it this year to open the roads for a few hours on Saturday morning, but giving them a handful of hours back isn't really a compromise over the three days.

"Some of our businesses are really reliant upon accessability to our stores. Many of the residents and people who come for the dinner rush they love it and it is great but they don't see the other side of the coin when you're trying to operate a business and many of us just want to operate our businesses as usual."

She says they're not opposed to seeing the event every weekend, they're more opposed to seeing it every day on the weekend, and have asked to have something like in Kingsville where it would just happen on Saturdays.

DeLuca says she and other business owners wouldn't be speaking up if this weren't a real and pressing need for them.

"We would like to see it reduced to one day or possibly move it into the areas that are requesting it. Streets like Richmond, Ramsay, and Murray. There's a little area and there's some hidden back alleys that are being beautified by murals. There's a ton of space in there that would be a beautiful place for open streets," she said.

Amherstberg council is still waiting on a report from the town's tourism department before making a decision on bringing the event back in 2022.

 

- with files from Rob Hindi