Fort Oglethorpe Mayor Judson Burkhart’s wife Diane manages Action Video and Tanning on Gordon Street. He asked Chickamauga City Council Monday, Dec. 3, to reconsider closing downtown streets for the next two weekends so the Chickamauga Merchants Association can put on a “Patriotic Christmas” celebration.
City council voted to continue closing the streets through Christmas for the celebration, which began Saturday, Dec. 1.
The weekend evenings are when the video store makes the most money, Judson Burkhart said. The Chickamauga Merchants Association chose week-end nights so citizens could enjoy the lights.
“Those are our crucial times,” said Diane Burkhart.
The Burkharts spent money beefing up inventory at her store in prepara-tion for increased holiday business.
If the store can’t make money on those nights he said he may not be able to pay rent and might have to close her store, he said.
Judson Burkhart was the only one complaining about the closing at Mon-day’s meeting.
Larry Plunkett, owner of Plunkett Auto Supply and Appliance, countered Burkhart’s claim. He said while business may be slow due to the street clos-ing, citizens walking the streets slow down and notice the stores.
“It’s amazing how many people walk into my business of six years and say ‘I never knew you were here,’” Plunkett said. “I see it as enhancing business in the long run.”
The Merchants Association had a series of announced meetings which the Burkharts did not attend. The merchants began planning the street clos-ings in October