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Council tables request for city center services
Residents enjoy live music on the veranda of the Richmond Hill City Center earlier this year. The city council is considering events like this as regular operations for the facility. - photo by Photo by Lori Wynn
The Richmond Hill City Council has put on hold a request from city center management to increase operations at the new facility, citing concerns of creating more competition for local businesses.
During the council’s regular meeting Aug. 5, John Wilderman of the Wilderman Group presented preliminary plans for a regular Sunday brunch and “Fridays on the Veranda,” a beer and wine event every other Friday evening.
“Both would enable us to showcase the facility without directly competing with other local hospitality businesses,” Wilderman said.
But council members disagreed on whether such events at the city center would mean more competition or not. Following a motion from member Russ Carpenter, the council tied 2-2 on the vote, with members Marilyn Hodges and Jimmy Hiers opposed.
Mayor Harold Fowler split the tie by voting in favor tabling a decision on the matter.
“I want more than anything for the center to be a success …” Carpenter said prior to the vote. “But how are these two events not direct competition (for local businesses)?”
Wilderman explained that the brunch would be about $18, and the was based on the success of those held on Mother’s Day and Easter and the fact that “it’s hard to find a Sunday brunch in Richmond Hill.”
The Friday event, he said, would be a “sophisticated yet relaxed transition to the weekend” geared toward the business community – to show the city center is “a great place to conduct business.”
Hodges said she thought it was a great idea to promote the city center, and Hires agreed.
“I don’t think it will be competition,” Hires said. “You can’t find too many $17.95 brunches in Richmond Hill.”
“But we need to look and see,” Carpenter said just before making his motion to table.
Council member Van Hunter said he thought the food and service at the city center is “awesome” but wasn’t comfortable making a decision on such short notice.
“You just brought this to my attention tonight,” he said. “I would ask for more time to consider it.’
Council members did not discuss when the subject would be brought back for further consideration, and it is not an item on the council’s agenda for Tuesday night.
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