Letters To The Editor

Letter to the Editor: Regarding the renewed enforcement of the retail outside display ordinance: In the Lake Geneva Regional News on April 10, 2019 the Mayor was quoted as saying “it’s primarily to keep sidewalks available to pedestrians and it also falls under the overall historic downtown appearance that we’re trying to keep.” Let’s debunk both reasons for this archaic, irrelevant ordinance as it exists.

1.) The merchant’s display’s in question are all in merchant’s alcoves, on private property and not encroaching on cities sidewalk or property what so ever. 2.) preserving the historical image is a gray area.

Let’s work with fact. Fact. Thousands of people have reached out via the Lake Geneva Regional News, The Geneva Shore Report, and my own personal Facebook in support of the merchants. This can be documented. The citizens who voted in this administration do not want this ordinance enforced. As they embrace the outside seating of restaurants as festive and inviting, so do they embrace our display’s as also stimulating. For those of you that are not familiar with retail workings. Merchant display items are purchased in the January through March time frame. Most merchants will buy an abundance of the product they intend to display. Now, with the summer season upon us, the product is in and the bills are due. The merchandising intended to sell this product is no longer allowed. Financial hardship is inevitable. Twenty-four- years ago Amazon did not exist, internet sales were in the crawling stage. Big box stores were not invading in every small community. The retail landscape has changed dramatically and this irrelevant, restrictive ordinance has no place in today’s retail climate. Citizens have voiced their pride and concern for their city regarding this issue. A vast majority feeling that government has overstepped their boundaries. They want a vibrant, prosperous community. Great mention has been made of the closed stores and frequent turnover of businesses. This ordinance would certainly not address that issue. Another issue often stated, is the need for diversity in our community, businesses that attract all demographics of local and visitor traffic. Lake Geneva, in the past, touted itself as Newport of the West, relating to Newport, Rhode Island. I grew up one hour from Newport. Their history is abundant. Their tourism and local trade are bustling. They allow outdoor displays. I have business acquaintances on the New Jersey Shore. After the devastating hurricane of 2012, retailers virtually helped rebuild that destination with their displays, merchandising and determination. I could go on and on about successful destinations without such a restrictive ordinance. I don’t see how with a clear conscience you could not comply with the demands of your constituency.

Bob Lee Owner, Bob’s Beach Shack

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