Archive for Wednesday, July 19, 2000

Business owner circulates petition to move Tonganoxie Days

July 19, 2000

It's not that Roger Shilling doesn't like Tonganoxie Days. He thinks the annual festival is good for the city.

But because he believes it interferes with business operations downtown, Shilling is circulating petitions calling for the festival to move all its operations to the Leavenworth County Fairgrounds.

"It's too distracting to downtown," said Shilling, who owns an electric company in the heart of downtown at 511 E. Fourth Street. "I can't get to the back of my building during Tonganoxie Days. It doesn't really benefit the town. All of these people are from out of town. They leave their trash behind."

Connie Torneden, organizer of the festival, wasn't available for comment. But Pat Albert, president of the Tonganoxie Chamber of Commerce, said he thinks the festival should remain as it is, with commercial booths and other events downtown, the barbecue contest and demolition derby at the fairgrounds and the antique auto show at VFW Park.

"We have two opportunities a year to show off Tonganoxie," he said. "One is the Leavenworth County Fair, and the other is Tonganoxie Days."

Albert said he doesn't believe closing Fourth Street for one day each June is too much of a burden on local businesses.

"It's a good thing for the community, not a disadvantage for the community," he said.

Shilling said the festival should be consolidated at one site that has restrooms, water and electricity.

"You can have everything out there, and everyone can just enjoy," he said.

Shilling submitted a bill to the city of Tonganoxie for $80, which he said was the use of the street in front of his business. When the city denied the claim, he forwarded it to the chamber.

So far, several people have signed Shilling's petitions, which he also plans to submit to the city and to the chamber of commerce, he said.

"I don't know whether they will listen to us," Shilling added.

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