The Defeat of Jesse James Days celebration committee was recently made aware of proposed city park plans, brought forward by the Riverfront Enhancement Plan advisory committee, that call into question the future of the DJJD celebration. However, at no point in the last 20 months that these plans were being developed, was the DJJD committee informed or consulted with on these proposed plans.
North Babcock Park, Ames Park, and Riverside Park are all sites with proposed changes that would prevent the DJJD committee from hosting several events, including the carnival, car show, truck & tractor pull, and rodeo – all of which are currently held at these sites.
Annually, the five-day celebration attracts nearly 250,000 visitors to Northfield. The weekend provides additional revenue boosts for many local businesses, while also providing local non- profits fundraising opportunities to support them year-round.
Since the celebration began in 1948, it has seen many changes, but one thing the committee has learned over those years – after trying new and different ideas, faced modifications due to construction and flooding issues – is that the celebration is most successful when all events are held in downtown Northfield, or within walking distance of downtown. The events impacted by these proposed changes do not have alternate location options that fit that criteria.
The plans will be presented to the City Council on Tuesday, November 17 – and will be voted on Tuesday, December 1. We are asking – if you, your business or non-profit are a supporter or benefactor of the DJJD celebration – please reach out to your Northfield City Council representative prior to those dates and urge them to vote no on this proposal.
The DJJD committee is also asking the city council to vote no, and are requesting the opportunity to work alongside the Riverfront Enhancement Plan advisory committee. We want to support their efforts in making our downtown parks more accessible year-round while finding solutions that will allow our celebration to have a future by remaining in downtown Northfield and its surrounding parks. This can only happen if DJJD is given a seat at the table, along with other organizations that could be impacted by any future decisions.