Some Minneapolis City Council members questioned whether it was fair to fund the winter marketplace but not other events.
A proposal to replace the annual Holidazzle parade in downtown Minneapolis with a winter marketplace appears to be on ice, at least for now.
The City Council’s budget committee on Monday voted against providing city funding after some council members questioned why this particular event would receive city funding, while others do not. The item was on the consent agenda of the ways and means committee, making its failure to pass unusual.
The action would have allocated $395,000 toward a European-style marketplace, in conjunction with $1.3 million of private support. Most of that public funding would come out of the city’s convention center budget, with another $95,000 paid out of the city coordinator’s budget.
Whether the item will return in another form remains unclear. Committee Chairman John Quincy did not immediately return a phone call Monday.
The city has traditionally funded Holidazzle to the tune of about $300,000, which is why the funds were set aside in this year’s convention center budget.
Steve Cramer, president and CEO of the Downtown Council, said the funding was necessary to pull off the marketplace event.
“Without the support we simply wouldn’t be able to do that activity,” he said. “So we’d be kind of taking the winter off.”
Council Members Andrew Johnson, Elizabeth Glidden, Blong Yang and Lisa Bender raised concerns about the funding proposal. Glidden said she would prefer that all the money came from the convention center fund, which is funded through special sales taxes.
“I think it’s an important partnership. … But the question is what is the event, what funds make sense to support this,” she said. “Knowing that I do think a very important point for all of us up here [is] how do we fund or not fund other events?”
Yang asked whether a pool should be created to fund other events if this one is funded. “When you think about this, you think about it within the context of what about the other great events in the city?” he said. “And what about them not receiving direct funding?”
Eric Roper • 612-673-1732