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Editorial: Mayor got message on vendors

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COLUMBUS Mayor Kristen Brown heeded the voices of downtown restaurant operators in taking a step back from a proposal to open the area to sidewalk vendors who would have been allowed to sell items ranging from food to flowers in carts and trucks.

Early in her second year in office, Brown deserves credit for taking into account the attitudes of some important constituents who have had a major role in revitalizing the downtown area.

The original concept, which was floated in a trial balloon fashion, was presented as a vehicle to continue the process of making the downtown an exciting and vibrant area that would attract residents and visitors alike. Street vendors are a staple of larger cities such as New York and do indeed lend a unique flavor to those areas.

However, managers and owners of existing downtown restaurants pointed out that allowing street vendors to operate under a licensing system would be unfair to those businesses that also have to pay property taxes, leases and salaries for a large number of employees.

Moreover, those restaurant operators also should be acknowledged for their initial investment in an unproven enterprise the city had taken in the effort to bring new life to the downtown. Those same operators also had to go through some trying times during the construction blitz that has been ongoing over the past five years, most notably the long and disruptive reconstruction of Fourth Street.

It is this kind of attention to the feelings of constituents that is important for any venture affecting the public and private sectors.

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