QUINCY -- Members of the Quincy Dogwood Festival Committee met this week and discussed ways to "make things better and different" after some downtown merchants complained about problems near Washington Square.
Theresa Godman said the committee is discussing ways to do earlier planning and better publicize what will happen during the annual festival that includes a parade, carnival rides and a variety of booths and activities.
"We took a look at the positives and all the negatives ... at parking and trash and just a blend of how things can work together," Godman said.
Rodney Hart, who owns Second String Music at Fifth and Maine, told members of the Quincy City Council on Monday that he had "never seen such a pigsty and mess" as was left around Washington Square when the carnival left at the end of the Dogwood Festival. The Saturday events also prevent parking nearby and hurt his business each year. Hart wants to see the carnival moved away from Washington Park.
Bret Austin of Austin Properties urged city officials to establish a checklist that must be completed before any major event is held in Quincy.
Godman said the Quincy Park District already has "a very thorough checklist" that it goes over with festival organizers, but she said a second check list could be used.
"We don't want to throw the baby out with the bath water. We're very positive looking forward about how we can make things better," Godman said.
Quincy Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Amy Looten said the carnival and activities in Washington Park have always been a big draw during the Dogwood Festival.
"Folks from nearby communities bring their children to the carnival. Everyone has been cooped up all winter and are ready to get out of the house. And, because of the visitors we have, other entities have latched on to the success of the Dogwood Festival and have chosen to host their own fundraising events that weekend, hoping for bigger crowds," Looten said.
"If there is no central location for the festival, then I think the other activities would suffer, too."
Godman said the festival is a team effort and organizers look forward to coordinating with the Park District, the city, the Adams County Health Department and other groups.
"This event is important to the wider community. We're hoping that solutions will come very soon," Godman said.