Efforts from volunteers and participants resulted in the turnout for Sunday afternoon’s May Day Run a successful one. The event was organized to raise funds for the Miss River Raisin Scholarship Programs.
The run was scheduled to begin and end at the pedestrian bridge in Ellis Park and an alternate route was planned if there was flooding in the park. The actual flyer for the event said the runs starts at the arch bridge and ends at the pedestrian bridge.
Mary Ann Morrison, manager of The Place, an Antiques and Collectables shop, found out through The Toledo Blade on Saturday that the run was re-scheduled to start and end downtown and South Lane Street would be closed.
After spotting Councilman Al Navarro in the crowd wearing a May Day Run t-shirt, Ms. Morrison approached him and reported she would have liked the opportunity to contribute to the event if she had some advance notice. Mr. Navarro, an avid runner and track coach, then relayed the information to the event organizer Marcia Loader, publisher of the Blissfield Advance and executive director of the Miss River Raisin Festival Scholarship Pageant. Before finishing up with the event, Ms. Loader took the time to visit The Place where Mary Ann suggested if the run started and stopped every year downtown they could count on closing the street and all interested merchants would have a chance to donate something for the success of the event, preventing a last minute scramble. It was Mary Ann’s understanding the park is usually under water this time of year.
I would like to first thank all the runners for gracing our streets and donating to the cause, but I’d also like to thank a few more people who did some community building on Sunday as well. Thanks to Marcia Loader for planning the event who then made time in her busy day to reach out to another business in town and address the misstep. Thanks to Councilman Al Navarro for his communication and heart, if he didn’t care he would have remained silent. Finally, thanks to Mary Ann Morrison for sparking the communication, sharing her suggestions and requesting the ability to chip in.
Communication Breakdown – before and after the event
Michael Sessions sent out an email at 12:43 on Friday and suggested if merchants wanted to set up some promotional material, they would have to get it to Marcia Loader by the end of Friday’s business day. Needless to say, not everyone expected communication that late or strictly by email. If the emails were indeed read when the information was sent, it was only awarding 4 hours to put something together for offer or promotion, certainly not nearly enough time and woefully short on time for informing customers where to park.
I don’t think it was too much to ask that all downtown businesses be contacted by phone or a quick visit to advise them what was on the agenda for downtown.
Even if there was a slight chance South Lane would be closed, I feel it would’ve been more advantageous to give the merchants an early heads up when decisions were made in the planning stage; they would’ve at least been able to gauge for themselves the likelihood of our River Raisin having rising water issues.
Two calls were made to Marcia Loader to confirm information regarding the May Day Run, compliment her on her endeavor and probe for her thoughts about where we fell down on the communication. Two messages were left. Going into the second week later she has not returned my calls.