Eagle eyes $140,000 in event funding for 2017
January 16, 2017
EAGLE — Eagle plans to spend $140,000 this year on a combination of community and special events.
The Eagle Town Board approved the recommendation from the Eagle Marketing and Events Committee to allocated $72,550 for 2017 community events and $67,200 for special events. Community events are defined as activities targeted for town residents — such as ShowDown Town concerts, July 4 fireworks and Flight Days — while special events are proposals from promoters for activities designed to bring people to town.
Eagle's new special events coordinator Jeremy Gross presented the funding proposal. He noted the special events calendar includes the return of the Colorado High School Cycling League State Championship in October as well as other youth sports tournaments. Gross noted the youth events have proven to be a good fit for Eagle, bringing in competitors and families for multi-day hotel stays. That is a key consideration because Eagle's marketing and events funding comes from a $2 per room, per night hotel lodging occupation tax.
Gross noted 2017 includes an expanded plan for a previous event — the Bonfire Block Party. The music event closes off Broadway for free street concerts and the Eagle Marketing and Events Committee recommended funding the event at $15,000.
Gross noted that the block party has been combined with the Eagle Outside Festival and the River Jam events for 2017.
"Having those three event together creates a sizable event that spans several interests," Gross said.
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That expansion of interest is a new theme for Eagle's special events calendar.
"For years it has been suggested that we are just a mountain bike community and just looking at the chart (listing of events planned in 2017), it is clear there is more diversification," said Eagle Town Board member Kevin Brubeck.
On the community event side, the Eagle Town Board upped its contribution to Flight Days from $15,000 to $25,000.
"They (Eagle Marketing and Events Committee members) very much support the event and want to see it grow," Gross said.
In particular, he noted the committee supports the carnival change the event tried last year. Prior to last summer, a traditional carnival ride operator set up for the weekend and paid back 10 percent of his proceeds to the Flight Days fund. That contribution brought in approximately $2,000 annually for the event.
Last year, a new adventure-style carnival came to Flight Days and cost $25,000. To defray that cost, $25 wristbands were sold for kids to participate in the activities for the weekend.
"The MEAC wants to see continuation of the elevated carnival that is more in line with the town of Eagle lifestyle," Gross said.
Under the community spending category, the Eagle Marketing and Events Committee also weighed in on annual contributions for groups ranging from the Eagle Air Alliance (which provides subsidy money for commercial air flights to the Eagle County Regional Airport) to the Walking Mountains Science Center.
In looking at that part of the contribution recommendation, Eagle Mayor Anne McKibbin noted that between the Vail Valley Partnership, the Eagle Air Alliance and the Eagle Chamber of Commerce, the committee recommended a $17,500 expenditure. But the Vail Valley Partnership contribution was earmarked at $7,500 — a larger amount than the local chamber was slated to receive. Town board members suggested dividing the money equally between the three groups.
"It starts in our own backyard," said Eagle Town Board member Paul Witt.
"I agree with the notion that supporting our own chamber, especially since they have been pretty successful at what they are doing, is in our own best interests," McKibbin said.
In Kind donations
As they looked at the town's plans for financial contributions, town board members also urged Gross to consider the impact of in kind donations.
For example, town board member Matt Solomon noted it takes a sizable effort from the Eagle Public Works crews to set up for the Bonfire Block Party and the high school cycling championships. He said if the in kind effort is not factored into the overall event cost, then the town isn't getting an accurate description of what events actually cost.
Gross noted that the town's events budget does include $7,500 annually for in kind services and pledged to track those costs during 2017.