It began rather innocuously: Tony West reported the recommendations that the Friends of Clark Park’s Large Events Committee made to the city’s Recreation Department, from a survey it conducted on the Park’s use as a host for flea markets; but it sparked confusion and suspicion in some of those attending the Friends of Clark Park’s Winter Meeting.
Conducted between September and November of 2009, the survey’s aim was to gage how the park’s users responded to the scale and frequency of flea markets held there, explained West, who is chair of the Friends of Clark Park’s Large Events Committee. Currently, there is approximately one flea market every three weeks or so during the park’s peak season (May through October), West said.
Based on the results gleaned from the 140 people polled, the committee recommended the following: “We like flea markets, but neither bigger nor with more frequency,” said West, adding that the committee isn’t going to submit any “recommendations to make changes to process or policy to the Recreation Department.”
Ali Hoehne, chairwoman of the Uhuru African People’s Solidarity Committee, took issue with some of the results published from the survey. In particular, those “which indicated that some of those polled would like to see new groups brought in,” said Hoehne.
Uhuru holds seven flea markets in Clark Park a season.
But to West, Hoehne’s concerns were groundless. “Just because that was found in the survey, doesn’t mean the committee made a recommendation on it.”
“In fact,” West added, “it didn’t.”
As for the permits themselves, “that,” said West, “is not up to us. We do not issue permits. The Recreation Department does.”
“And,” West continued, “as I’ve said before, we’re not making any recommendations to change the policy.”
According to West, the survey’s results indicate, to Clark Park’s Large Events Committee, that there is enough Flea Market Activity. The other days should be made available to other festivals, which can generate more funds for the Friends’ operational fund, said West.
And, interjected Frank Chance, the Friends of Clark Park’s President, the reason for the survey in the first place was to determine whether or not residents thought there were a sufficient number of flea markets,