After bumping into delays in its efforts to secure $45,000 from two public entities to organize a series of events aimed at drawing people to downtown Glenwood Springs this year, the Downtown Partnership has decided to pull back for now.
“It just got to be too late in the game, and we’re beyond the point where we can get all the pieces together,” said Tom Fleming, director of the Partnership.
“The long and short of it is we don’t have the money to do what we had hoped to do,” he said of the downtown business coalition’s initial plans to put together a series of “Second Friday” events starting in June as well as special activities around the July 4th and Christmas holidays.
The Partnership had also planned to step up some of its marketing efforts using social media and various forms of advertising to get the word out about retail promotions, downtown happenings, maps and other information.
To help with the operating and program management costs, the Partnership had requested $30,000 from the city and another $15,000 from the Downtown Development Authority.
Last week, however, Glenwood Springs City Council decided the city was not in a position to make the grant out of the general fund and suggested Fleming go through the city Tourism Board for special grant funding.
“Council was very supportive of the concept and some of the ideas for events,” Mayor Leo McKinney said following a discussion at the April 17 City Council meeting. “But we elected not to touch the already strapped general fund to do it.”
Likewise, Fleming said he was advised by the DDA board that it wouldn’t be able to decide whether to fund the Partnership’s efforts until after it receives its final accounting of the ongoing downtown streetscape project in June.
That project, which includes the work currently being done along Seventh Street, the 800 block of Cooper Avenue and the alley next to the 711 Grand Ave. building, is coming in at around $1 million.
A delay until June to go through the city tourism promotion grant process and to wait for the DDA to make a decision would have been too late in the game for this year’s events, Fleming said.
“We’re still an all-volunteer organization, but if we’re going to do some of these things we need to have some paid staff,” he said. “It’s disappointing, because we were excited about our plan for the year.”
Some City Council members had also questioned whether city funds should be used to help with the Partnership’s administrative costs.
“I’d rather see that money go directly to promote the downtown,” McKinney said during an earlier discussion of the funding request.
Without a way to cover the organizational costs, though, “nothing happens,” Fleming said during that same discussion.
“Council was very supportive of the concept and some of the ideas for events. But we elected not to touch the already strapped general fund to do it.”
Glenwood Springs mayor