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St. Augustine to vote on silencing street performers

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Updated: 7/06/2013 12:32 am
ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- City leaders in St. Augustine will soon vote on whether or not to further restrict street performers in the downtown district.

Street performers and vendors are currently prohibited from Hypolita Street from St. George west to Cordova Street.

Jason Catron is one of the many sounds you'll hear along St. George Street. He's been performing for nearly a decade and has picked up a pretty wide skill set along the way. "I've played from here to St. Louis to San Fransisco and New York," said the St. Augustine native.

The city recently silenced street performers in the heart of downtown on Hypolita Street west of St. George. The proposal would expand the ban east of Hypolita to Charlotte Street.

The ban is backed by quite a few business owners who say the performers can be disrespectful, dirty and detract customers from their shops.

"It can be offensive or obtrusive when we have guests coming and going," said Shane Farmer.

Farmer manages Spy Global Cuisine and Lounge. He and other nearby shop owners want the city to continue its crackdown on street performers.

"If they can spend the time doing all that applying themselves to music, they can apply themselves to a better quality of life," said Farmer.

If passed, the ban would encompass all of Hypolita Street, which is known as one of downtown's busiest stretches for visitors.

Catron suggests the city to register all performers and enact a permit-based system.

Catron says he's for whatever solution that will keep the unique sounds alive in the heart of downtown. "It adds to the cultural experience of coming to St. Augustine."

There will be a public hearing Monday before commissioners vote on the proposal. The meeting starts at 5 p.m. at City Hall.
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Realchange - 7/6/2013 9:11 PM
0 Votes
Seems to me this is going to far. The voters should make their opinion known to the city council. Lately there is push to make people not be on the streets except for official business. If continue letting Americans be punished for what they want do where will it stop.

Stumpy - 7/6/2013 8:42 PM
1 Vote
Maybe our city leaders could find a better way to pass their time besides bothering our street performers. If they don't like them, then they need not stop on their walks (do our city leaders actually get out and walk around our city or do they just sit on their fat asses and think of who they can harrass next) and listen to them. Music is a way of life for some, and much appreciated by most. Street performers add character to any city or town, and there removal will not only be a travesty of justice, as they're not bothering anyone and I don't remember seeing in the Constitution of the United States where it says "Thow shall not make music or perform on a public street even if such street is closed off to traffic." but it will make for a less entertaining visit to our downtown area. Maybe we the public need to vote on silencing our city leaders.

wishmistress - 7/6/2013 12:43 PM
1 Vote
"If they can spend the time doing all that applying themselves to music, they can apply themselves to a better quality of life," said Farmer. Uhm...Mr. Farmer, music IS a way to a better quality of life. Maybe you folks could work together and find a way to 'accessorize' each other. Having a set area for the local talent to entertain, either at each shop or several separate areas locally, could actually work to your benefit. Work with the artists on types of music vs. types of shops. Get together as a community and work towards a beneficial result, rather than forcing out what you don't agree with.
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