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Celebrations back in city, ??? remain on revenue loss

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

Two events slated for this spring and summer will move back to the City of Bandera from Mansfield Park on Highway 16 North. However, during a city council meeting on Thursday, March 5, decisions on requests to use City Park and to close streets around St. Stanislaus Catholic Church were tabled until the next meeting on Thursday, March 19.
On March 5, event coordinator Genie Strickland and Bandera Community Foundation President Buck Murray requested to lease City Park on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 5 and 6, to stage Celebrate Bandera during Labor Day weekend. Additionally, they requested use of the park for a half-day on Friday, Sept. 4, to allow set-up for participants in the Intertribal Powwow.
According to Murray, the venue switch from Mansfield Park to City Park had resulted from "listening to what people said." People had expressed a desire for more activities for children, he noted. A rudimentary Celebrate Bandera configuration for the park would set the powwow in the front, near the restrooms with children's activities in the middle and a potential barbecue cook-off in the back of the park, past the second entrance off Maple Street.
Murray also noted relocating Celebrate Bandera would also benefit merchants. "We want everyone to stay the weekend and spend money in our community," Murray said. "We want them to have so much fun on Saturday, they spend the night and come back the next day."
He also told council that $5 Celebrate Bandera entry fee to the park would go to the BCF. "We're not trying to make money," Murray said, "but we want to break even." A bull riding competition would be held Saturday evening at Mansfield Park.
Strickland pointed out that, according to a survey taken last year, Celebrate Bandera's economic impact to the county was $2 million. "We want to make sure we offer the best event for people to see and spend their money," she said. "Celebrate Bandera is successful because of the merchants and we want to give back to the merchants."
Referencing an earlier discussion, Stickland asked council to "look at the whole picture and not just the park." During an earlier agenda item, council had mulled over possibly raising the park's rental rate higher than the current $1,000 per day.
"We budgeted rental at $1,000 per day and that's what we're prepared for," Strickland said, adding, "We'll be out on Monday and you can charge then."
At the urging of City Administrator Lamar Schultz, council discussed having possible sliding rental rates for the park based on seasonal activities, such as off-, in- and peak season dates. Although the park currently rents for a flat $1,000 per day, collected admission fees can reach $2,500 to $4,000 on certain weekends.
"We need to look at maintaining our asset and not lose money on the operation," Schulz said.
Supporting that contention, Councilman Glenn Clark said, "We're always running behind time and losing money on everything we do."
The matter of City Park rental fees will be discussed in a workshop slated for Thursday, March 12, as proposed by Mayor Pro Tem Suzanne Schauman.
Additionally, during the workshop, council will address the number of street closures requested by St. Stanislaus Catholic Church for a festival on Sunday, May 3. Some council members thought the number of streets was excessive. The festival was previously held at Mansfield Park.
During the workshop, fees currently charged for water and sewer taps - $1,000 for both residential and commercial entities - will also be on the agenda. According to Schulz, the total construction cost of the tap for the Burger King currently being built on Main Street was $2,836. "We lost money on that," he told council. It was suggested that the city might follow the lead of San Marcos, which charges "actual construction costs plus 10 percent."