Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Club Owner Finds Event Date Taken
Nightclub owner Edison Garcia brought photos of the crowds at his Independence Day celebration to share with City Council members Monday, but what he didn't realize was that the governing body had just approved another club owner's bid to use the dates for his September Central American Independence festival.
Garcia even invited the council to come out to the September event, not realizing that they had just voted to permit the owner of Chez Maree to hold a two-day multicultural festival on Sept. 15 and 16 on the next block. Although he obtained permission in March for the July event, it turns out Garcia had failed to apply for use of city parking lots in September.
It would have been Garcia's third year for his September event. Maree was seeking his first major event.
The two club owners conferred with Public Safety Director Martin Hellwig after the meeting adjourned and later outside with each other over the mix-up.
Maree had asked the City Council in May to consider permitting an event with "mainstream acts" such as Chris Brown and Drake. He said he wanted many acts and genres to be part of the event. Councilwoman Rebecca Williams questioned whether a large crowd could be accommodated, but Maree said the parking lot behind his Watchung Avenue building was 100,000 square feet. Council President Adrian Mapp offered his support at the May meeting, but at the July 9 agenda-fixing session, Maree said Hellwig had not given police approval for the proposed event.
Maree then suggested having an event on July 21, but council members said the timing was too close. He took the council's advice to have it later and settled on Sept. 15 & 16.
The two owners seemed willing to keep options open after Monday's meeting, though Garcia looked a bit downcast by the mix-up. If they are able to hold both events, Garcia's would be in Lots 8 and 8a between Somerset Street and Watchung Avenue. Maree's would be in Lot 1, between Watchung and Roosevelt avenues. Both sites are behind buildings on the north side of East Front Street.