FORT MYERS, Fla. — Bike nights have been in Downtown Fort Myers for over ten years. The River District Alliance recently announced that it will now be held at the Rockstar Harley Davidson. They are set to host the first bike night in the new location next Saturday, November 9th.
An official says the event has outgrown its footprint in the historic downtown district, leading to concerns regarding safety and accessibility.
Fox 4 got the community's response to the financial impact of this sudden change. Local business owners say they look forward to bike night in downtown Fort Myers year after year because it brings in people from all over.
After hearing about the move on social media, Shanna Miller owner of The Downtown Jewelry and Watch Company, says she jumped into action because events like this bring her store high revenue.
"Revenues will be affected. Bike nights are one of the reasons why I opened up on First Street," Shanna Miller said.
We talked to the founder of Seed and Bean Marketplace, Cole Peacock, who says, "Any time you lose an event, its a strain on downtown, and especially business owners."
"When you come downtown, you want to have people, and you want to have exposure...you want to have experiences. If anyone gets taken away from that, then it's going to ding a little bit," Peacock added.
Robert Houston has been riding motorcycles for forty-seven years and looks forward to bike nights downtown. He is not looking forward to the change in location. "We don't want it out there. We want it here. I don't want to go all the way out to Rock Star. I like it down here. I like the surroundings the ambiance," Houston said.
Friday evening, Miller started an online petition to bring Bike Night back to downtown Fort Myers, which has garnered an overwhelming response from the community.
“Within 36 hours, we’ve got over 750 signatures on the petition. I’m representing not just myself but the masses,” says Shanna Miller.
This local business owner voiced her concerns at the city council meeting on Monday.
City council member’s responded in agreeing that events like this are great for the city of Downtown Fort Myers and have made it a point take a further look into this case.
In response to the financial impact this will have on local businesses, Councilman Burson says,
"Its bad for business, and if its bad for business its bad for us."