Murfreesboro is a great place to live. What makes it that is its tight-knit community and local businesses in conjunction with the music and arts scene. A creative economy is essential to any cultured area, but especially a college town.
City officials have proposed a new ordinance that threatens the expansion and involvement of this scene.
The ordinance originally stated that private business owners could not cover more than 15 percent of their window space with flyers or advertisements, and could have no neon signs altogether.
When it went before the council last week, a compromise was made to increase it to up to 25 percent. Essentially, it would add four more pages of legal matter to an already long list of regulations for local businesses.
This still poses a problem because it reduces the ability for stores to advertise in a competitive market. This becomes a community problem as well because it reduces all possibility for local event advertising.
Local artists and bands rely heavily on flyers to get people involved in the scene. “It’s gonna kill that exposure,” commented Quinten Thornton, a local musician and large organizer for local festival Boro Fondo and the Murfreesboro House Show Alliance, a Facebook group of over 1,000 people and a platform for numerous bands. He organized with others to voice their opinion.
“There’s a lot of outrage in the business community, the local business community about this, and it’s just totally hypocritical and stereotypical,” Thornton said of the ordinance, “Fear. That’s what politicians use to push their agendas.”
The reasoning the council members gave for trying to instate the ordinance is that they need a “clear zone” in windows for safety in case of an emergency.
“The whole thing is, we’ve never had anything like that in Murfreesboro, a hostage situation or something like that,” he said. “And it’s just pretty ridiculous.”
Thornton stressed the importance of local activism, urging people to join him when the vote goes before the entire city council.
“I think it’s everybody’s duty and obligation as Americans living in a democracy to know what’s going on and to know how your voice can affect that,” he said.
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