I need to respond to Jim Sanders' letter regarding the Peach Basketball Classic. The majority of downtown merchants do not want the PBC on Main Street.
The reason I know the majority of the merchants are opposed is, I, as well as others did a poll, independent of the Downtown Walla Walla Foundation, to verify the published results. What we discovered was that the original poll of the merchants included businesses that were not open on the day of the event, their street wasn't closed or they were not a retail establishment affected by the inconvenience of the PBC.
The tournament prevents our regular customers from reaching our stores as well as making it very difficult for tourists to get to our businesses.
While we realize the PBC participants are tourists, unfortunately, in the past, they have not frequented our downtown merchants.
This last statement does not hold true for other downtown functions, such as the Wheelin' Walla Walla Weekend, Sweet Onion Festival and bicycle races, etc.
How can moving the event two blocks, or even three blocks, affect sportsmanship, integrity of the event or cancellation of the event?
Why can't the event be held at the YMCA? It has a huge parking lot, lots of grass, shade trees, streets on three sides of the building, lots of public restrooms and drinking fountains. Perhaps, YMCA officials don't want the inconvenience?
Just because something "has always been done a certain way" doesn't mean it can't withstand change.
Just to reiterate, it is not one restaurant owner who wants the PBC to relocate, it is the majority of the affected merchants.
Terry M. Baker