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updated: 8/20/2014 5:30 PM

Wauconda merchants upset about events' impact on parking, access

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  • People flocked to Main Street in Wauconda on Tuesday for a car show, but some business owners were upset the roadway was closed for the event.

       People flocked to Main Street in Wauconda on Tuesday for a car show, but some business owners were upset the roadway was closed for the event.
    Russell Lissau | Staff Photographer


Car shows, a farmers market and an annual music-and-food festival have brought people to downtown Wauconda this summer -- but they've also got some local business owners steaming.

The temporary street closures and public parking lot closures that have been implemented to accommodate the events prevent customers from getting to local stores and restaurants and hurt sales, complained Andrew Mansour, owner of Frank's Karma Cafe, 203 S. Main St.

"It really does interfere with (our) day-to-day business," Mansour told the Daily Herald. "It just fails."

Village Administrator Doug Maxeiner acknowledged the problems and said officials will re-examine the policy for street and lot closures.

"Obviously we need to do better," Maxeiner said.

Mansour was peeved about three events: the Wauconda Lions Club's annual Blues, Brew and Burger Fest, which was held Saturday; a car show that was held in July and again Tuesday evening; and the farmers market staged every Thursday in the summer months.

A public parking lot was closed for the burger fest and for the car show; additionally cars were forbidden on a stretch of Main Street because of the car show and the market.

Those restrictions made parking difficult for people driving to businesses along Main Street. On Tuesday night, some people attending the village board meeting at village hall had to park several blocks away because of the car show.

Saturday's parking lot closure for the burger fest particularly frustrated Mansour.

"They closed the parking lot all day for an event that didn't start until 6 p.m.," he said. "My philosophy is, don't step on your neighbor's toes."

Mansour groused about the road and parking lot closures during the board meeting. So did Louise Knutter, owner of a salon called the Nail Polish Girl at 108 N. Main St.

Like Mansour, Knutter said the events disrupt her business.

Trustee Linda Starkey said the events at the heart of the dispute were created to bring people to Wauconda, especially for shopping and dining.

Still, in a Daily Herald interview, Starkey admitted the events have experienced "some growing pains."

Officials will consider the merchants' objections when planning next year's events, said Starkey, who served on a committee that helped organize the car show.

"We certainly want to be accommodating to the businesses, because (they're) why we're doing it," she said.

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