St. Augustine extends ban on street performers

By Ashley Mitchem - Reporter, anchor
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ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. - The city of St. Augustine is again trying to silence one of its staples -- street performers.

St. Augustine city leaders have extended a ban on street performers from Hypolita Street east to Charlotte Street in historic downtown.

The ban takes effect July 18.

"Maybe if the city could try to find just a little area for them to play, that might be really neat," restaurant performer Jim Kalil said. "Because people do enjoy hearing live music, and it's a way they get that music out in public and sometimes that's how you get discovered."

Some tourists may think it's neat, but some business owners are happy the ban is expanded. Their common complaint is driving away customers because they sit in front of a business blocking the entrance, blocking traffic and begging for money.

"Sometimes there would be five or 10 of them sitting up against our window," said one business owner who didn't want to be identified. "We noticed people walking from our side of the sidewalk to the other side of the sidewalk to avoid being confronted by them because sometimes they would be abusive to the tourists."

He said it's not just the tourists who were made uncomfortable, but also his employees.

" have some Flagler (College) students who work for me and they are always uncomfortable," the business owner said. "Have called the building manager several times, who then called the police to come."

He said he agrees with the ban, but also wouldn't mind them still performing in the city, just not on his street.

"A lot of tourists like watching that kind of thing and interacting, and some of the performers are talented, some of the artists have work that is desirable," the owner said.

Other people say their main concern is the safety of the performers because the trolleys that travel through the narrow one-way streets may not see someone sitting on the street.

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