CCAH: Gazebo fees going through roof
Carbondale’s arts council is questioning why it must pay twice as much this year to rent the Sopris Park gazebo, especially since the group built and helps maintain the structure.In a memo to the board of trustees, Carbondale Council on Arts and Humanities director Thomas Lawley pointed out that increased fees reduce the amount of money the nonprofit can put back into the community.”Every year our costs are going up and our net is decreasing. This increase only adds to the reduction in monies for CCAH,” Lawley said.”Oftentimes, people think the Mountain Fair makes the $400,000-plus in gross sales at the Fair, when, in reality, CCAH only nets $25,000 to $45,000.”The Carbondale Board of Trustees is slated to discuss the CCAH fee reduction request at tonight’s meeting, which starts at 7 p.m. at Town Hall.The Carbondale Mountain Fair, held in Sopris Park, is the Carbondale Council on Arts and Humanities’ biggest fund-raiser. Much of the fair’s action takes place at the Ben Reed Memorial Gazebo. Lawley’s memo calls CCAH the “lead organizer” in getting the gazebo built in 1984. He said it was built with volunteer labor, a state lottery grant and CCAH donations.”Over the years CCAH has also paid to have the facility repainted, including painting the entire floor area this past summer,” Lawley’s memo continues. The arts council also paid for sound-deadening baffles at the gazebo to decrease noise levels in the Sopris Park neighborhood.The arts council applied to use the gazebo for a total of eight days: three days during Mountain Fair, and for five Performance in the Park concerts. All the events are free.Lawley said the former $25-per-day user fee for the gazebo increased to $200 per day last year, although the trustees later reduced it to $100 per day plus a $50 set-up fee.”It (the increased fees) meant an extra $500 expense for the Mountain Fair, and an extra $875 for the Performance in the Park,” Lawley said.There is no across-the-board gazebo fee for large events.”The trustees consider large events on a case-by-case basis,” said assistant town clerk Marcia Walter. “It’s up to the board.”Rental fees for weddings, parties and other occasions range from $25 to $300 depending on the number of participants involved.The arts council is also asking for a permit to use its North Face property for concerts on May 19, June 8 and July 6. The music lineup would be a mix of folk, folk rock, ethnic, newgrass and Americana, and alcohol would be available.In a memo, Carbondale Public Works director Larry Ballenger said he has several concerns with the special event application:-The North Face site is in very rough condition.-There are no potable water or public sanitation facilities on site. The nearest toilet facility is at the town’s adjacent ball field. “This would not be adequate for a crowd of 300 beer-drinking concert fans,” Ballenger’s memo said.-There is no electricity at the site.-The only off-street parking would be at the North Face ballfield.-There are no picnic tables, trash containers or shaded areas at the site.The North Face property is located south of the Carbondale Fire Station on Highway 133. Lawley said the events would help CCAH gain public support in its capital campaign to build an art center on the property.Other trustee agenda items include continued discussion on Carbondale’s home rule efforts.
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