Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Rockville councilmember proposes moving Rocktobierfest back to Rockville Town Square

Rockville City Councilmember Monique Ashton last night proposed moving the annual Rocktobierfest event back to Rockville Town Square. It is currently scheduled to take place at RedGate Park at 14500 Avery Road on Saturday, October 1, 2022. Ashton suggested the change would provide a boost for businesses at the struggling Town Square development. 

Councilmember Dr. David Myles said he agreed with the proposed change. A physician, Myles argued the move would be best for public safety, public health and convenience. Councilmember Beryl Feinberg was more skeptical, saying it was her observation that many people drove when the event was held at Rockville Town Square in the past rather than take Metro.

Mayor Bridget Donnell Newton and Councilmember Mark Pierzchala raised concerns that Town Square business owners have expressed in the past about events there. Street closures for the events hurt, rather than help, businesses along those routes, some business owners have said. Gibbs Street is already entirely closed to traffic as it is, Pierzchala noted.

Officials sought input from Tim Chesnutt, Director of Recreation and Parks, but he was no longer participating in the meeting. City Manager Robert DiSpirito said he recalled Chesnutt suggesting the city wait to see how Hometown Holidays turns out at RedGate Park later this month before making a change for Rocktobierfest.

Ashton made a motion to ask city staff to engage Rockville Town Square businesses on the question of moving the event there. Newton proposed a friendly amendment to add the Rockville Economic Development, Inc. (REDI) and the Rockville Chamber of Commerce to the outreach effort. Ashton accepted that amendment, and a proposal to get feedback from residents, as well. The motion passed unanimously.

Photo courtesy City of Rockville

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