There are many
comments fights going on regarding the economic impact of the Quiksilver Pro as to who is going to benefit: Will it be the residents & merchants of Long Beach? The pockets of our elected officials? The Quiksilver sausage & pepper stand? (There’s a joke there somewhere.) The bottom line is this: The Quiksilver Pro will attract many folks to Long Beach and we are all going to benefit. Plain and simple. End of argument. Spectators (or drunks, as some will say) aren’t coming here just to hang out at the Quiksilver tents; they’re going to soak in our local flavor by shopping at our stories, eating at our restaurants and paying you 30 bucks to park in your driveway. This creates jobs and helps with our tax base. With the exception of a few parking concerns, this event is a win win for all. Oh…. but there is one small problem: things are now different. The event has changed: The Quiksilver Pro has turned into a disappointment for most and it hasn’t even started yet.
(Please take yourself out of the Long Beach world for a minute.)
Without the festivals (bmx, motorcross, skateboarding, concerts), The Quiksilver pro has officially lost it’s mass appeal. I read the comments all over the internet. I know what’s going on. There are many who think the words ‘New York’ & ‘Surfing’ just don’t mix. They say things like “that belongs in California.” And if I read the words 2 foot waves one more time ……. people just don’t get it. They don’t know that a surf culture in New York is alive and well (and thriving). Quiksilver was hoping to draw these people here; expose them to the surfing culture and hope they buy some Quiksilver t-shirts. For many folks – the festival was the event. The majority of the people (outside of Long Beach) that I have spoken to were more interested in the sideshows than the surfing competition. This is not a knock on surfing (I surf too), it’s just a fact of life in New York. (Again, please take yourself out of Long Beach for a minute…)
People will come. It just won’t be as many. The merchants who once saw giant dollar signs must be looking at this as a missed opportunity. Because lets face it, the economy isn’t great and they still need to pay rent, taxes, maintenance, insurance (workers comp, property, fire, etc.) and salaries. Many of these merchants were counting on this event for a much needed boost. Well, there is always next year. And the year after that (since Long Beach signed a three year deal with Quiksilver.)
Quiksilver has yet to release their new schedule. I’m hearing rumblings from local folks wanting to organize a ‘Pop Up Festival’ (more on that in a later post). Rumors are floating around of a scaled down Quiksilver mini-event, but I won’t believe it until I read it.
I’m still an optimist. I still think this event will be a major boon for Long Beach (That’s us). After all, Quiksilver pays Long Beach to use Long Beach. But, now that the event has changed, I wonder if the original deal with the city is still intact or if a revised plan was drafted. I say this because there are a lot of things around town that need some fixing and we could really use some of that Quiksilver money. For example:
- FIXING THE HURRICANE IRENE MESS – Self explanatory.
- REBUILDING THE BOARDWALK – This has been mentioned last summer. Our boardwalk is a mess. The city wants to build an entirely new boardwalk foundation: “The boardwalk really needs to be maintained, and we would really love to have the ability to do it over with higher-grade materials,” said City Manager Charles Theofan. That quote is from a LB Herald article from two years ago (read – City approves capital improvement plan). I know most of the residents will agree. Give us a nice boardwalk that won’t give our bicycles flat tires!!!
- REPAVING THE ROADS – When I first moved here about four years ago, I asked a long time Long Beach-resident neighbor why some of the roads were in such bad shape. He said it was speed control – certain roads just won’t get fixed, unless it’s a dire situation.
- FIX THE SEWER DRAINS – This seems to be an ongoing processes. As the city ages, our sewer drains need updating and it’s very costly! This is a must, unless you like your cars swimming in water.
- NEW SIDEWALKS & LIGHTS ON PARK AVE – Brick paved sidewalks, new pedestrian lamps, planters, benches, bike racks: You know the drill. The Town of Hempstead does this to all of their towns. Our downtown is long over due and needs a makeover.
- FIXING CITY HALL, Because I’m tired of looking at the scaffolding that’s been there for months. or do I mean FIXING CITY HALL: The actual elected officials?