During the City Council Budget Public Hearing this past Tuesday night, a city resident asked about the Dillard Alumni Parade and why it was not held in downtown? The citizen shared that he had heard it was because the vendors (merchants) were against it and wanted to check if that was the case. The Mayor shared that he felt the City Council would have supported the parade downtown, but to his knowledge the Dillard Alumni had not asked for it to be downtown. A council member confirmed the Dillard Alumni wanted the parade on Slocumb Street.
Staff spoke to the gentleman after the meeting and shared that downtown would have loved to serve as the locale for the parade and that if an event organizer had approached them, staff would have worked with them to facilitate it, as we do all others. Staff explained that the merchants have expressed an interest to manage the amount of street closing requests in terms of collective annual quantity, duration and area due to increased interests in downtown, but that they had always welcomed the Dillard Alumni and nothing had changed to alter that. Staff further shared that if the Dillard Alumni parade organizers want to consider coming back downtown, we would be happy to help facilitate that in the future and, even if the parade organizers preferred the newer location, we would be happy to assist in facilitating Dillard Alumni sub-group interests (such as a particular graduating year reunion), if they were interested. Apparently, there exists a difference of opinion among the Dillard Alumni Association as to where it should be held and that is not our decision to make. The Downtown Goldsboro Development Corporation (DGDC) does not solicit the use of downtown for parades, conferences, or even events. The Downtown Goldsboro Development Association and/or City Downtown Development office staff, hold our 40+ events downtown but does not solicit others.
It has been brought to our attention that there exists a belief that the DGDC/City worked very hard to secure the Main Street Conference and should have done the same for the Dillard Alumni Parade. Each year, the Main Street Conference organizers at the NC Dept. of Commerce’s Main Street Center, solicit Main Street Communities across the State, such as ourselves, to submit a nomination and request for consideration to host future Main Street Conferences. There are costs associated with being a Main Street Conference host in order to compete statewide. As a Main Street community, the City of Goldsboro opted to respond to that solicitation for consideration and, as we know, was selected to be the host in 2016. They solicited us; we did not solicit them. Staff would wish to make that point so there is no confusion or assumptions about the process and how we decide to seek usage of downtown.
Scott A. Stevens, City Manager