Here is one solution to the lack of nightlife in Porterville, and it is an organic one – Sonny Sell, a local promoter is on a good track noticing the otherwise underused park across from City Hall.
One likely doesn’t need permits if one simply shows up and starts playing music -e.g. busking.
Let some of the many fine musicians in Porterville practice and gather inspiration under the music mural and statue of Buck Shaffer on the Clock.
When word gets out that there are musicians there, people will come to listen.
When there are enough musicians around the park, people will stroll and wander.
And when the musicians get the attention, they will stay late.
All of this under the First Amendment.
Let it happen every night, with more fun on weekends, Fri, Sat for example.
Let Porterville get a reputation as a place where creative musicians play and meet each other.
Other artists will come, locally, and from far away, and they will have things to share, and maybe services to sell for tips like the musicians.
Soon, people will want to make a night of it, and that means eating dinner or getting snacks to bring to the park. A restaurant or two will start to think about staying open to accommodate that, and maybe some pushcarts or food trucks will show up.
Maybe even the food trucks will start to offer the creative truck cuisine that other cities have leading nightlife efforts there…or other creative food places such as Crave Bakery on Main Street will step up!
Maybe some of the crowd will wander to the Brickhouse or Mecca, and vice versa, and those few blocks will start to show some human activity after 5PM.
Eventually, maybe the musicians and artists will want to start being here around each other because they are benefiting from the collaborations. Instead of moving to SLO or wherever, some stay here or come back after college.
An arts community of young people starts to form. They need studios and apartments, and some vacant places on and around Main Street start to look good as places to live and work.
By then, the Courthouse is done, and there are new folks in town who have a few bucks to spend on themselves and entertainment, they work downtown, and some of them are not ready to go home and roll up the carpet at 5PM, so they add to the crowds – more crowds for the musicians and strolling artists, more customers for the food carts, the restaurants, and suddenly some kind of shops on main street start to look feasible where they haven’t until this point….
Porterville gets a reputation regionally, and sometimes further, as a place to see great music, see great art, or to make it, and to enjoy a meal, maybe to stay a day or two in a hotel.
Sonny starts to see more people at his shows, and so do other venues.
Tax revenue starts to increase, and it comes at least in part from out of town, meaning it is “free money” for City Hall, and represents a facet of a thriving economy, possibly for the first time ever in Porterville.
How did this happen?
Because the musicians and artists here in town show up in numbers to exercise their First Amendment rights in a park the City has already built and dedicated to them, and which is mostly unused today, and definitely underused.
Total investment by the City to make this happen?
Think it can’t happen?
See the square on University Avenue in Palo Alto next to Pizza My Heart (I forget the cross street right now). See the many creative buskers on Castro Street in Mountain View where there used to be none, and where 25 years ago the street looked pretty much the way our Main Street does now.
I am sure there are lots of other examples.
Porterville has the raw material in celebrated and presently anonymous musicians, let’s see you come out to busk, it is the best thing that can happen to the City at this point in its history!