16 September 2007

Concession Stands Rarely Open

In the city, instead of a private yard, we have city parks. Fortunately, Cincinnati has some wonderful parks, so instead of spending my weekends cutting grass, or other yard maintenance, we spend hours biking and playing in our local parks, and we appreciate them very much. However, after spending so much time in them, we also notice the faults.

One such fault is that the concession stands are rarely open. For example, a few weeks ago, I spent a Saturday at the lovely, 1,000 hands playground and sand volleyball court (that we use as a sandbox), at Sawyer Point Park:

[where: 815 E. Pete Rose Way, Cincinnati, OH 45202]

I didn't take lots of pictures of the people here, as I don't like to take lots of pictures of other people's kids, but it was quite crowded. Despite this, the private contractor vendor, next to the playground was closed, as usual:

We were looking for a cool drink and maybe lunch, so we took a longish, but very pleasant walk along a shaded path, with pavers marking geologic time, towards the other end of the park:

When we arrived, we found another closed concession stand:

Then, famished, we decided to walk across the Purple People Bridge to see if Kentucky offered any relief:

There, we found a simple information stand with cold drinks and snacks:

I go to one of the local parks usually a few times a week, but rarely see one open. I have seen the stand at Eden Park Twin Lakes open once, and it was swamped with kids getting snacks. I have seen the one on the Serpentine Wall open several times, especially during festivals. But they don't keep regular hours.

I get the impression that the stands are only open when they can be guaranteed of a profitable day. But they have a monopoly on sales in the park. If the private contractor cannot guarantee to be open minimum hours, then the park should be opened to competition from other vendors.


Kelly said...

This is so true. I don't think I've ever seen one of those concession stands open - I've often wondered what kind of snacks they would sell if only they were operating.

It's also funny that the stand you found in Kentucky is at Newport on the Levee, which has so many other options for snacks and drinks. I guess the vendors at that stand know there's going to be consistent foot traffic.

Radarman said...

Good observation.

One gets the feeling that the Park Board and the City of Cincinnati don't yet really believe that people want to live a city life.

Kevin LeMaster said...

Come to think of it, I don't remember the last time I saw them open.

A lot of young people in this City need jobs, especially in the summer!

So, what are we going to do about it?

CityKin said...

Well, I think the first thing I will do is ask around at the CRC and Parks Deptartment and see how this is managed now. My impression is that it is all private contractors.

I wonder if they are required to be opend certain hours, and do the parks get any proceeds?

The concessions should be an asset that makes the park more enjoyable, not just a way for some contractor to make a few bucks during festivals.

I will ask and when I get some answers, I will write about it again.

ekalb said...

It is true that the concession stands are rarely open. I ride my bike in the parks along the river and have never seen them open. I have seen the stand at the Eden Park overlook open several times. It was always busy.

If they are not getting much business I think they should consider putting the consessions on one of the bike trolleys. Possibly to the People bridge as well as along the paths to where the people are to attract more sales.