Covina : Arts Show Must Leave Park

Despite opposition from artisans, the Covina City Council has voted to relocate a 22-year-old weekend arts and crafts show from tree-shaded Covina Park to the exposed asphalt of Italia Street downtown, effective in January.

Over the last year the council, city officials and an ad hoc committee have pondered where the Saturday arts show should be. The artisans want to stay put, saying the park is an ideal meeting place for townsfolk.

However, homeowners in Adams Park, a small tract of homes near Covina Park, complain that the arts show, with roughly 180 booths, draws customers who swipe residents' parking spots and clog traffic.

Others question whether a commercial use is appropriate for a community park, and whether the show is causing wear and tear on the grounds.

Rich Richards, president of the nonprofit Covina Arts and Crafts Assn., said the move will hurt business because the park location is well known. The artisans clean up after the shows, he said, and generate more than $600,000 a year in taxable sales.

"I feel like it would be very degrading to go from a park where we've been for 22 years to a street," said Richards, who is holding out hope that a new City Council that will take office in November will agree.

City officials said Italia Street is roomy enough to allow more artisans to sell their wares, and that events there will be well advertised, with large banners on major thoroughfares nearby.

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