A proposal to replace the Holidazzle parade with a winter marketplace is just one component of a larger Downtown Council plan to ramp up downtown programming -- dependent on increased city assistance.
The council is slated to vote Friday on $390,000 in aid for a winter marketplace this year, which may pass because it was retooled since failing in committee. But the Downtown Council's request for 2015 will be $750,000, according to a letter sent this May to the city's chief financial officer.
That would represent more than double the city's past commitment to Holidazzle, which was closer to $300,000 a year.
Steve Cramer, president and CEO of the Downtown Council, said they intend to expand their programming from two major events (Holidazzle and Aquatennial) to a more year-round approach with different themes throughout the year.
"We still want to make sure there are big splashes in the summer and the winter," Cramer said. "But we want to fill in the time between as well, especially with the big investment that’s being made to revitalize the [Nicollet] Mall.”
It also fits with the Downtown 2025 plan to create a more "consistently compelling downtown experience," Cramer said.
The Downtown Council requested that the money be set aside in the mayor's 2015 budget, which will be released in August.
“We can continue to do what we have been doing," Cramer said of the current programming. "But what this represents is a request to really step up significantly the level of programming and activation downtown. So I think that’s the question [for City Hall]: Is there a value to that?”
The letter also shows that the 2014 funding request has been paired back from an initial amount of $450,000. The money will help create the winter market and help establish a larger "Holidazzle District."
The Aquatennial has been traditionally supported through sponsorships, to the tune of about $608,000 this year.