Panel recommends pushing extra Naperville event funding to 2021
2021 will be the year for special event organizers in Naperville to claim $55,000 in city funding leftover from the departure of Christkindlmarket from the Naper Settlement, if the city council follows a commission's suggestion.
The Special Events and Cultural Amenities Commission on Monday recommended the city treat the money as "underspend" in this year's grant program and, following policy, transfer it into the next full grant cycle, which will be in 2021.
The city council could approve the plan during a later meeting.
The commission advises the council on allocations under the Special Events and Cultural Amenities program, abbreviated as SECA, which is supported by a 1 percent citywide food and beverage tax. After Christkindlmarket announced in April it would not return for a fourth year on Naper Settlement grounds, the fund was left with an unexpected $70,000 available.
The pot decreased when Naperville was chosen in June as the site of the WGN Block Party, which took place July 12. The city council approved the use of roughly $15,000 of the former Christkindlmarket grant toward police, fire and public works services for the downtown party and parade that drew large crowds for a four-hour morning broadcast.
Members of the SECA commission met earlier in July to consider what to do with the extra event funding. They pondered doling out the money to events that originally didn't receive any assistance or got only partial funding. But on Monday they decided the best plan would be to leave it for later use so event planners can put their best pitch forward for new or original gatherings.
The 2020 and 2021 funding cycles also will seem to have more money available because of the departure of Ribfest, which in the past has received as much as $227,000 from the fund.
"We've had these large events that are now no longer taking place in the city that I think would allow some great creativity to put out to our community," Commissioner Shannon Greene Robb said. "It's incredible for SECA to have the possibility to offer this to our community and say, 'Go big. What could make a really grand impact?'"
The application period for the 2020 grant cycle runs Aug. 7 to Sept. 9. Organizations that want to apply for money must send a representative to one of two workshops set for 1 p.m. Tuesday or 5 p.m. Wednesday in the council chambers at the Naperville Municipal Center, 400 S. Eagle St.