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Aspen allocates money for fledgling local events

Andre Salvail
The Aspen Times
Aspen CO Colorado
Aspen EcoFest is slated for a $5,000 infusion from the city. Held at Buttermilk in April last year, it is scheduled in June this year and will move to town.
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ASPEN – The Aspen City Council on Tuesday approved more than $20,000 from its general fund to boost new projects through the city’s “Mining for Ideas” program, which strives to assist fledgling events while also stimulating the local economy.

In all, the city’s Stimulus Review Committee received 34 proposals for money through the program, and gave a second look at 11 of them, said Assistant City Manager Barry Crook. During Tuesday’s work session, council members gave their financial blessings to three events for a total of $22,500. Additional requests are pending further review or may be funded through other organizations or other areas of the city’s budget.

The three events that cleared the funding hurdle are:

• $7,500 for the American Junior Golf Association Tournament, scheduled for June 6-9 at Aspen Golf Club. “We want this tournament to continue at the Aspen golf course, and due to the loss of sponsorship dollars, we are concerned about the viability of the event without city sponsorship,” Crook wrote in a recent memo to the council.

• $5,000 for Aspen EcoFest, slated for June 3-5. “This second-year event is proposed to move into town from Buttermilk,” Crook wrote. “Despite the event’s schedule and weather last year, it was a successful event and we wanted to support its move into town.”

• $10,000 for Aspen International Mountain Forum, tentatively set for September 2011, but the date is subject to change. The forum is a proposed symposium to discuss issues faced by mountain cities.

Recently, Crook wrote, the city of Aspen became the first U.S. government to join the United Nations Mountain Partnership, made up of 50 countries, 16 intergovernmental organizations and more than 100 major nongovernment organizations.

“Because Aspen is the first U.S. member, the Mountain Partnership is interested in hosting symposium in Aspen,” Crook said, adding that such an event could draw more than 1,200 participants.

Funding requests that are pending and require further study by the committee include the Aspen Tuesday Block Party, a charity event with music and refreshments, proposed to be held on Hopkins Avenue between Galena and Hunter streets; the Big Aspen BBQ Block Party, which has asked for $15,000 but faced council scrutiny Tuesday over the proposed sale of bottled water; and Search Party, designed as a community art project that asks locals and visitors to decipher clues “in a geocaching adventure using digital imagery to document their quest in search of a party.”

Mark Cole, executive director of the Aspen Valley Ski/Snowboard Club, expressed regret that the committee shot down his request for $10,000 for the annual Nor-Am Cup and U.S. National Championship Downhill races.

Councilmembers said the longtime event, while an asset to the community, doesn’t fit the Mining for Ideas criteria of being a new offering that might not survive without a government funding boost.

asalvail@aspentimes.com


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