Agreement on street closings comes too late to save full Fourth Avenue event

2014-01-10T00:00:00Z 2014-01-10T00:06:04Z Agreement on street closings comes too late to save full Fourth Avenue eventBy Darren DaRonco Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

City officials said they’ve reached an agreement to keep the Fourth Avenue Street Fair operating at full capacity.

But fair organizers said it’s too little, too late, and they still plan on going forward with 71 fewer artists this spring.

A combination of testing for the city’s modern streetcar system, a planned major drainage project, and the inability to resolve the resulting conflicts sooner forced the Fourth Avenue Merchants Association to notify 20 percent of the artists and vendors who sought to participate that there would not be a spot for them

City spokesman Lane Mandel announced late Thursday that Pima County and the Army Corps of Engineers agreed to keep Eighth Street and Third Avenue open during the Spring Street Fair, which starts March 21.

The city said on its Facebook page that this will allow the fair to accommodate the same number of artists as before without disrupting streetcar testing.

However, Fourth Avenue Merchants Association Executive Director John Sedwick said his deadline for notifying vendors had already come and gone.

“It’s too late,” Sedwick said. “I’ve been asking the Corps of Engineers and their contractor these questions since August, and they said they were under no obligation to keep it open. So I had to base my strategy of planning the street fair on what I was told.”

Sedwick said he had until Wednesday morning to make a decision on whether to cut the artists from the spring lineup. The lack of an agreement at that time left him no choice, he said.

Contact reporter Darren DaRonco at 573-4243 or ddaronco@azstarnet.com. Follow on twitter @DarrenDaRonco

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