Glenwood board recommends $15K for fill-in summer market
A Tuesday night produce and vendors market in Sayre Park being put forward as a fill-in for the Downtown Market, which is taking a hiatus this summer, would receive $15,000 in Glenwood Springs city discretionary funding under a recommendation forwarded Wednesday by the city’s Financial Advisory Board to City Council.
The advisory board is charged with reviewing and making recommendations for both discretionary and tourism-related grant requests that routinely come before the city from different community organizations.
It has recently been weighing a proposal put forward by City Manager Debra Figueroa to provide $20,000 to contract with Roaring Fork Events to organize a 15-week market in Sayre Park from 4-8 p.m. on Tuesdays, running from mid-June until early September.
The weekly event, being called the Glenwood Market, is seen by the city as a way to provide a temporary replacement for the long-standing Downtown Market, which will not be able to use its normal Ninth Street and Centennial Park venue this summer due to traffic controls in place as part of the Grand Avenue bridge construction.
The volunteer group that has run the Downtown Market for several years explored a possible move to Sayre Park after another option to use Axtell Park at the corner of Cooper Avenue and 11th Street was met with neighborhood opposition.
Rather than try to move the venue for this summer, though, the group’s board decided to take a year off in hopes of re-establishing the Downtown Market in 2018 and possibly moving the venue to Seventh Street in future years after the new bridge and the planned events space on Seventh are completed.
The proposal for a temporary market this summer using public money to pay a private event organizer did raise some ethical questions for Downtown Market organizers, and the group has made a point to separate itself from the event being planned for this year.
“My concern lies with the unavoidable conflict of interests in this request,” market board member Julia Larson wrote in a recent guest opinion that appeared in the Post Independent. “… It is not my intention to sabotage Roaring Fork Events, or to question the integrity of our city manager, but it is absolutely my intention to question the nature of this funding request.”
Figueroa submitted the March 17 grant request seeking $10,000 from the city’s discretionary grant fund and $10,000 from the tourism grant fund. Total expenses to put on the event are expected to be around $44,000, so additional funding sources would also need to be determined.
“Farmers markets are important to the community and to visitors, in that they provide access to locally and regionally grown food, and provide an important hub of activity, including live music, during the city’s busiest season,” Figueroa wrote in her request.
“The continuation of the market will add to the momentum and vibrancy that Glenwood Springs is moving toward,” she wrote. “Without this attempt to continue the event in 2017, there exists a real possibility that the Downtown Market would not return and/or the possibility of losing Glenwood Springs’ place in the weekly regional schedule of markets.”
After several meetings worth of discussions, the advisory board on Wednesday recommended that City Council pull $15,000 from the discretionary fund and none from the separate tourism funds for the market.
“The board did feel like it’s a good event, and we have given money to the Downtown Market in the past,” City Finance Director Steve Boyd said. “There is a concern that if we skip a year it will lose some momentum.”
The recommendation will be placed on the consent agenda for City Council to consider at its May 4 meeting, although council members may ask to set the market funding request aside for separate discussion from the other grant requests.
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