Our View: Brookings' loss can be our gain

March 05, 2007 11:00 pm

Crescent City residents who believe they're losing the coastal tourism game with Brookings may not need to worry anymore. Our sister city to the north appears to be on the verge of losing three of its biggest festivals – the Slam'n Salmon Ocean Derby, the Festival of the Arts and the Southern Oregon Kite Festival.

And that affords Crescent City opportunity.

At issue are fees the Port of Brookings Harbor is requiring of the festivals. The port's commissioners are holding a special meeting today to discuss the problem, and if they're sensible rather than stubborn, they should come to some kind of agreement that saves the events. The three festivals bring thousands of visitors to Brookings; these tourists in turn fill hotel rooms, dine out, fill their tanks with gas and spend money at a variety of Brookings' stores.

But pride sometimes has a way of overcoming good reasoning. That is why Crescent City, Del Norte County and local Crescent City Harbor officials ought to consider bringing those festivals here.

If Brookings doesn't appreciate the benefits of these events, we certainly would. More profit for our businesses, more tax dollars for our government to provide services we need, the opportunity to grow our economy with more visitors – it's an all around win-win.

Of course, the festivals wouldn't simply change their location. Most volunteers working on them in Brookings are from that city. But with a little sponsorships, organization, marketing and enthusiasm, we certainly could replicate them here – despite a recent past failure with a kite festival.

In any case, we'll almost certainly have to do something just to make up for the lost spillover revenue to our county. Those who attend Brookings' three festivals also come to Del Norte County to visit Redwood National and State Parks, to stay in our hotels when they can get a room in Oregon, to fish our pristine Smith River and more.

Our elected leaders should keep an eye today and in the weeks ahead on how this controversy shakes out. Should the festivals be cancelled, immediately getting a committee together to capture these events makes sense. If we're proactive and smart, next year Crescent City may be home to the "Northern California Kite Festival."