Commission collaboration: CAPC agrees to split cost of fireworks with parks commission

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Eureka Springs Parks and Recreation Commission has big plans for this year’s Fourth of July celebration, and the City Advertising and Promotion Commission is on board.

Parks director Justin Huss addressed the CAPC on Wednesday, May 10, saying the parks commission is hoping to have a major event celebrating the Fourth of July at Lake Leatherwood. Huss said the commission agreed to have a fireworks show and has invited local organizations to take part in the event. The volunteer fire department has already agreed to offer barbecue, Huss said, and some churches are interested in participating.

“I think it’s going to quickly catch on. We’ll get some groups together. We’re certainly going to reach out,” Huss said. “We try our hardest to stay local. We’re not going to solicit anyone to come in. I would really prefer it be local groups. It would be better for us and the community.”

Huss said it would cost $8,000 to have a fireworks show, including the cost of fireworks and insurance. He asked the commissioners if the CAPC could pay for half of that, and the commission unanimously agreed to spend $4,000 on the fireworks.

Also at the meeting, the commissioners heard from Scott Schroen of Phat Tire Bike Shop. Schroen explained that the shop is organizing the Fat Tire Festival this year and asked the commission for $10,000 to help advertise the event. Huss said he supported the proposal.

“Last year, they stepped in and did a heck of a job. We’ve been talking about … how do we grow this?” Huss said. “We’re very excited. It’s been tremendous working with Phat Tire Shop. We wholeheartedly endorse their request and hope to work with them for many years.”

Commissioner Terry McClung asked what attendance was like at the festival last year, and Schroen said it was up a little from the year before. Schroen said he hopes the event has a more festival-like atmosphere this year. In the past, Schroen said, he realized that people attend the event just to watch the race.

“It’s a mountain bike race that turned into a festival. People are going to show up to race no matter what,” Schroen said.

This year, Schroen said, he’s looking to bring more entertainment to the festival for everyone to enjoy.

“It’s a new focus and a new approach … not that we’re changing it, but just putting the spotlight on a different direction,” Schroen said.

Commissioner Bobbie Foster said she’s seen the success of the festival over the years and would support using CAPC dollars to advertise it.

“I just know from my experience … it’s a good weekend for Eureka Springs,” Foster said. “We need some new entertainment avenues for our guests, and I think this will provide that. Whether they come [in town] and eat, I still see it as an avenue of entertainment.”

Commissioner David Mitchell moved to allocate $2,500 to the festival, but nobody seconded his motion. Foster moved to spend $7,500 on the event and received a second. The commission voted, with everyone but Mitchell voting in favor of it. Mitchell said he couldn’t vote for the proposal because he believed it was too much money.

In other business, the commission looked over the proposed sponsorship agreement for the Eureka Springs App. The commission agreed to spend $19,500 to offer the app for free on Apple and Google products in the proposed agreement. McClung said the commission would give the proposed agreement to director Mike Maloney, who would present it to app creator Chip Ford.

Finance director Rick Bright moved on to present the financial report, saying the cash balance as of April 30 was $431,324.17. He listed tax collections remitted in April, from March collections. He said restaurants brought in $56,826, up $2,808 (5.2 percent). Total lodging collections were $51,458, up $454 (0.9 percent). These lodging collections include: $12,208 for hotels, down $126 (0.1 percent); $23,121 for motels, up $686 (3.1 percent); $4,236 for B&Bs, down $440 (9.4 percent); and $11,893 for cabins and cottages, up $334 (2.9 percent). Bright said the year-to-date lodging collections compared with 2016 are down $2,671 (1.9 percent) and the year-to-date restaurant collections compared with 2016 are up $3,724 (2.4 percent). The year-to-date total collections, he said, are up $1,071 (0.4 percent).

The commission’s next regular meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday, June 14, at City Hall.

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