CONCORD -- City leaders this month reaffirmed their commitment to their popular downtown events and concerts, a tradition in Todos Santos Plaza that has been at risk of ending or changing hands after 25 years under city control.
The council voted unanimously at its Nov. 13 meeting to retain its role as producer and manager of the events program, rejecting options to cut ties with the program or outsource the oversight to a non-city organization.
"There's no reason to change something that's not broken," Councilwoman Laura Hoffmeister said.
The future of the events program was dealt a major blow at the beginning of the 2012 season with the elimination of city's redevelopment agency, the events' primary funding source at $230,000 annually.
With a smaller budget of $89,000 in grants and donations, the city cut the number of events from 45 to 27 and scrambled to raise money from the community to keep the events alive. In five months, the city raised $80,000, according to a city report.
For the 2013 season, the city will use $49,000 in unused donation money and the $50,000 the city now receives from Concord Disposal Service through a new franchise agreement, and will continue to raise money from attendees. The city will also work with the Todos Santos Business Association and Concord Associates for the Performing Arts to raise money.
The events bring an estimated 150,000 people into downtown each year, according to Economic Development and Housing Manager John Montagh.
"I just want to reassure the downtown property owners, we are not going to bail," Councilman Dan Helix said. "We are going to stay with this and we are going to make this a success."
David DeBolt covers Concord and Clayton. Contact him at 925-943-8048. Follow him at Twitter.com/daviddebolt.