Central City Council gets jazzed

Central City Council gets jazzed
/John Scarffe/
Central City/

After a lengthy discussion, The Central City Council approved funding for the Colorado Economic Development Council during its regular meeting on Tuesday, April 1, in the City Hall. The funds, along with a $5,000 donation from a Central City businessman, will allow a huge jazz festival for the city to proceed.
“The Cultural Economic Development Association’s purpose is to create a collaborative sustainable organization that brings structural integrity into an economic development process” Fejeran said. “It combines all nonprofit organizations – the Opera House, the Historical Society and the Arts Association – that creates a synergy of experienced artists, each having a place on the CEDA board and working collaboratively to succeed in becoming a Creative Artist Community.”
“While CEDA is looking at several sources of federal, state, local and private funding, at this point it is unlikely to be in place to support CEDA’s immediate arts programs. In the long term, however, such funding will become realized.
“CEDA is asking for seed funding in the amount of $29,769, of which $17,751 will be applied toward professional services: public access, creative district and grant preparation, sponsorship program and festival oversight. The remaining balance of $12,018 will be applied toward operations and marketing.”
Councilor Gloria Gaines asked if CEDA was a nonprofit, and Fejeran answered that a 501 (c) 3 has been filed and is pending. Once the City has been designated a creative district, resources will be available.
“I’m really struggling with this,” Gaines said. “I don’t have a clear understanding of it. We’re dropping money in a rabbit hole.”
Fejeran said so far CEDA has received $9,000 from the City, which was part of the budget process. “It’s more expensive than I’d like it to be,” Gaines said, pointing out that the City has to add a fire truck and a Police Department vehicle.
“It’s costing us extra because we’re paying for your time,” Gaines said, and Fejeran said most of his time with CEDA is his own volunteer time.
Mayor Ron Engles asked what the impact would be if the Council denied the funding.
Fejeran said CEDA has two parts: bringing festivals to Central City and helping local businesses survive.
Fejeran introduced Central City Jazz Festival Director Cicily Janis. Janis told the Council she has been working for 60 hours a week for no pay, but she has contracted with 136 musicians for three days.
That would normally cost about $600,000, but she got it down to $150,000. The total budget is $420,000. She has done a lot of research on the financial impact of jazz festivals on similar cities, which can be between $800,000 and $1.2 million.
“The seed money is a minimal amount we need because this is only one of the events planned,” Janis said. “If funding is denied, progress on the Jazz Festival will halt.”
Other cities have offered to the buy the festival, Janis said. “You have to spend money to make money.”
Asked what the minimal amount CEDA would need right now, Fejeran projected that $12,000 would be the minimum they would need. Local Resident and businessman Ren Goltra then announced that he would donate $5,000.
Mayor Engels said he didn’t want to see the jazz festival fail. “I think $7,000 is a good investment.”
Gains made a motion to loan CEDA the $7,000 due back within three months of the end of the jazz festival, and the motion was approved, with Councilor Kathy Heider voting against it.
The next Council meeting is scheduled for April 15, 2014, at 7 p.m. in the City Hall at 141 Nevada Street.