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Art Walk Could Owe Thousands in Fees Under Recommendation from Public Works

By Eric Richardson
Published: Wednesday, October 05, 2011, at 12:22PM
August Downtown Art Walk Eric Richardson / blogdowntown

Pedestrians pass by the Medallion project, at 4th and Main, during the August Downtown Art Walk.

The Downtown Art Walk would be designated a "special event" and could be required to pay thousands of dollars in monthly fees if the City Council chooses to go along with recommendations put forward by the Board of Public Works and the city's Art Walk Task Force.

The six-year-old event has historically steered clear of the special event designation and any responsibility for the fees that would entail because of its structure as a loosely-organized collection of events at galleries, retail spaces, bars and parking lots. They combine to draw roughly 30,000 people to Downtown's Historic Core each month.

Update (Friday): Is the October Art Walk worth $8,731 to Downtown businesses and property owners? That's the amount that the Art Walk non-profit now needs to raise.

In September, Councilmembers Jose Huizar and Jan Perry split roughly $10,000 in city personnel costs related to the Art Walk. While those costs are billed based on costs incurred each month and may vary, a spokesman for Huizar said that he expects ongoing monthly costs to be a similar amount.

The report from Public Works appears to recommend that costs be split between the Art Walk itself and any events requiring "change of use" permits, such as the lots that bring in vendors and food trucks. Both the permitted uses and the Art Walk would be designated as special events and responsible for paying the cost of any extra city staffing.

While it remains to be seen what fees would be owed by the Art Walk, nearly any amount would be more than the organizing non-profit has been paying. In September, executive director Joe Moller told blogdowntown that the event paid "several hundred dollars" in waste cleanup fees and a $138 permit for the site of its Art Walk Lounge.

The recommendations go to the City Council's Public Works committee this afternoon. That committee is chaired by Huizar. The October Art Walk is in eight days, on October 13.

Board of Public Works Report


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