City Council approves Red Bull chariot race

Monday, September 19, 2011 | 11:23 p.m. CDT; updated 7:22 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, September 20, 2011

COLUMBIA — Red Bull will hold a chariot race Oct. 1 on Ninth Street.

The race is a promotional event for the company behind the popular Red Bull energy drink. The City Council approved Red Bull's proposal to close Ninth Street from Cherry Street to Locust Street from 1 to 8:30 p.m. for the race in a unanimous vote during Monday night's meeting.

The council heard recommendations from the Special Events Committee and Allie Yeakey, marketing representative for Red Bull.

The Special Events Committee approved the proposal and agreed with Red Bull that the race is a way to bring citizens into downtown.

The Central Columbia Association voted against the proposed street closure via an email poll, saying they did not have adequate time to discuss the proposal with Red Bull or amongst themselves.

"Our board meeting is Wednesday and they needed a response before we had a meeting," said Carrie Gartner, director of the Central Columbia Association. "So we never got to sit down with them and discuss options. Usually we have enough time to come up with compromises and options for the merchants, but we didn't this time."

Mayor Bob McDavid said he is not sure the association's vote against the proposal was sound since Red Bull was not able to discuss the details with the group.

"With respect to CCA, I'd feel better about their objection if they had actually met," McDavid said.

Yeakey said 17 of the 18 businesses located on the section of Ninth Street affected by the closure approved of Red Bull's proposal. The only business that did not approve the proposal was Top Ten Wines.

Mike McClung, owner of Quinton's Bar and Deli, approved of the proposal. He said, in a previous Missourian article, the chariot race is a way to promote business downtown.

Tina Bradley of Allen's Flowers, located on Ninth Street, said they also believe the event is a way to bring more business downtown.

"Any time you have an event like this, you have new people downtown and more people who like to shop," Bradley said. "And we want new people to come in."

Councilman Gary Kespohl, before Monday night's meeting, said he wanted to hear both opinions before making a decision, but he is not comfortable closing a street for a company.

"My immediate thought is that it's an event for a company promoting their product," Kespohl said. "If that's the case, I don't want to close streets. But I want to hear them talk about it."

After hearing from Red Bull and the Special Events Committee, Kespohl voted to approve the street closure for Red Bull's event.

Yeakey said the event is open to both the public and business owners.

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mike mentor September 20, 2011 | 9:22 a.m.

I can't believe Red Bull and the city actually allowed something to happen before the queen bee and her hive could find time to meet and discuss. Just who do these people think they are ???

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