The Spirit of Anniston has been characterized in recent weeks as being “against” the Rumble on Noble event and bikers in general. Nothing could be further from the truth.
At the request of City Council, we were asked to find out what downtown stakeholders thought of the event and report that back to the council so that it could make an informed decision regarding the event. That is what we did, reporting a "mixed bag" of responses with at least two examples, one on each side of the argument and a sampling of solutions from stakeholders.
A majority of responses had nothing to do with bikers, or the fact that Rumble is a biker event. Bikers patronize every business downtown on a daily basis and are routinely welcomed, festival or no festival.
Responses from downtown stakeholders had more to do with concerns over how the event is organized and managed and with what many had characterized as being less-than family friendly entertainment.
The Spirit of Anniston represents downtown merchants, property owners and stakeholders. As a result, what we did do is pose a few questions of our own. Why do downtown stakeholders have to pay a cover charge to get into their businesses and homes during the event? What does it cost the average business downtown to operate or close during the event? Which charities benefit from this event, and are they local? How is the money raised during the event and who benefits? How is the event organized and who is managing it while it is in progress?
As our city leaders seek answers and work to reach an agreement, we appreciate and trust the council will keep our downtown stakeholders' interests at heart, as a result, the Spirit of Anniston stands ready to support the City Council in its final decision.