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“We don’t want to have all or nothing,” Paul Margetson, chair of the Convention and Visitors Bureau task force in the transition team, said at the hearing. “Perhaps we close Plaza from Memorial Day to Balloon Fiesta.”
That’s pretty close to the mayor’s plan. While an early proposal sought to limit the Plaza to pedestrians year-round, now Gonzales supports closing all four streets of the Plaza to cars and opening up more foot traffic from Memorial Day to the Monday following Fiesta de Santa Fe week, which occurs around Labor Day.
Earlier this month, Gonzales asked the City Council to halt its consideration so he could “put together a more detailed plan for programming, partnerships and logistics.” Popular ideas posted from public members on a board Monday night included hosting “international food markets,” free Wi-Fi and “cruise nights.”
Existing Plaza users also took time to ask the city for more access. Ed Baca, president of Santa Fe Vintage Car Club, which hosts hot rod showcases on the Plaza multiple times a year, asked whether the city could simplify the permitting process for holding events on the Plaza. Others, including a member of a marimba group that plays on the Plaza, criticized the city for its new busker ordinance that limits sound from traveling more than 50 feet.