Created on Wednesday, 18 June 2014 Written by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
CINCINNATI (AP) — The city of Cincinnati is letting merchandise vendors know that when Major League Baseball's All-Star game comes to town next year, they're out.
Most of the regular vendors who set up on streets around Great American Ball Park for Cincinnati Reds games will be exiled from a large "clean zone" section of the riverfront area. That's part of the city's deal to land baseball's annual star player showcase while allowing MLB exclusive rights including MLB merchandise sales during All-Star game-related activities.
The Cincinnati Enquirer (http://cin.ci/1pFMY9F ) reported in Wednesday's editions that the city sent letters to some 50 vendors who will be affected July 9-15, 2015. The city explains in the letter that it wants to give vendors plenty of time to make plans, and offers help in relocating to areas where their sales will be allowed.
"The city of Cincinnati recognized that the inability to sell merchandise and tickets and similar items during this event is now what vendors may have wanted to occur," the letter states.
Cincinnati spokesman Rocky Merz said the city values the role of the vendors, but must "balance the work done by the vendors, the requirements of MLB and the safety of our visitors."
The American Civil Liberties Union in Minnesota recently dropped a legal challenge to the regulations after the city of Minneapolis scaled back restrictions around the site of this year's game.
Charles Samuelson, the state ACLU's executive director, said the rights group remains concerned about the clean zones, which it sees as restricting free speech.
"Here's what the people of Cincinnati need to ask: Is it proper to give control of First Amendment activities for a period of time to a group of businesspeople?" Samuelson asked.
City council members will hear comments on the restrictions next week.