Don’t Discourage Waterfront Events

One reason the Heritage Port was constructed beside the Ohio River was to attract people to downtown Wheeling. Various festivals and other special events held at the venue have done a good job in that.

Now, however, city officials are discussing a proposal that would discourage those who stage existing events from doing so at the Heritage Port — and provide an incentive for those considering new entertainment activities to look elsewhere for sites.

As we reported Monday, city officials are discussing a plan to charge organizers of events at the Heritage Port as much as $500 per day.

Proceeds would provide money for maintenance of the Heritage Port, officials say.

Among special activities at the venue are several sponsored by nonprofit organizations which have seen state support cut dramatically during the past couple of years. And some use proceeds of their events for worthy causes. Fees paid to the city would be another burden for those groups.

Some Wheeling businesses, including hotels, restaurants and service stations, benefit from visitors to events at the Heritage Port. That, too, needs to be taken into consideration.

Charging fees to those who bring thousands of visitors to downtown Wheeling is bound to leave a bad taste in the mouths of some who hold specical events at the Heritage Port — and that is reason enough for city officials to think very carefully before doing so.