WHDA suspends Music in the Streets

Published 6:28 pm Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The Washington Harbor District Alliance is actively seeking ways to revitalize downtown Washington — and replacing the old with the new.

Last week the board of the Washington Harbor District Alliance voted to suspend “Music In The Streets” and consider new events to support Washington’s downtown.
“Washington is a bright and ever-evolving town and our events should reflect this,” said John Butler, the newly appointed chief operations officer of WHDA.

For the past 14 years, the mini-music festival has been held on the streets of downtown Washington every third Friday of the warmer months of the year. The board made its decision about Music in the Streets after getting feedback from a recently held public meeting.

“This is direct result of meeting with merchants downtown. Part of what WHDA has to do is listen and act,” Butler said.

“It’s important for us to listen to our merchants and partners, investing our energy and funds in ways to strengthen and grow our downtown,” said board Chairman Chris Furlough. “‘Music In The Streets drew people to Washington and into our shops and restaurants, but over the years its popularity diminished and caused unnecessary stress and complications to many of those businesses we are chartered to help. Our merchants spoke, and we took action.”

Although the standing monthly event will be taking a break, the “music” will go on, Butler said.

“There’s lots of opportunities for great events in this town,” Butler said. “We have artists approach us all the time. There’s ideas punted around all the time. We really need the room to be able to look at those new opportunities.”

The WHDA Board confirmed a number of other events will continue, including the Marine Market on April 29, the annual Fourth of July Fireworks Celebration, Pickin’ on the Pamlico on Sept. 9 and the popular weekly Farmer’s Market, which starts in early April 2017. Partnerships are key in moving forward for WHDA — partnerships with Arts of the Pamlico, the Washington-Beaufort County Chamber of Commerce, Washington Tourism Development Authority, among others, Butler said.

“We all have to work together and also combine our resources,” he said. “If all boats link together then we all rise with the tide. I think that’s really true.”

A future meeting of local businesses and partners will be held at 8:30 a.m. on March 1 at Grub Brothers Eatery.

“There’s room for everybody to get involved in music and events downtown,” Butler said.

Washington Harbor District Alliance is an organization of businesses and community members working to renew, restore, rebuild and revitalize the downtown business district; improve economic conditions; encourage tourism; and preserve historical buildings and their significance in Washington.

“We all see every day the role that economic development can play in the growth of a city,” Butler said. “I look at it like this: anything that WHDA does and in any way the city grows, and brings people to the town, to shop in our stores and eat in our restaurants, benefits all business in town.

For more information, visit www.washingtononthewater.com.