After breaking a century-long tradition with the absence of an entry in this year’s Tournament of Roses parade, the Glendale City Council will consider throwing in for a 2016 float, but a lot weighs on how much fundraising a group of enthusiastic volunteers can pull off.
In February, the council agreed to front $50,000 if a newly formed nonprofit could match the figure in donations.
A change in plans was recently initiated by City Manager Scott Ochoa after he was informed by organizers that Glendale would need to spend at least $200,000 to be eligible to participate.
So he’s asking the council during a special budget meeting on Tuesday to consider footing the entire bill with money allocated from the city’s Economic Development Department.
But the onus will be on the Glendale Rose Float Assn. to raise money from businesses and citizens to not only try to pay back the city, but eventually try to pay for future New Year’s Day floats on its own.
Councilwoman Laura Friedman said she isn’t completely on board yet as there’s a question of how other nonprofits could be in need of some city money.
But she says she understands why she and her colleagues are being asked to pay $200,000.
“People don’t want to give their money if they’re not going to get a float by the end of the day,” she said.
If the council gives the OK on Tuesday, work needs to get underway quickly. Other communities had their plans finalized in February, said Keith Sorem, the association’s president.
“We’re going to start working on the float design immediately,” he said.
The Community Services and Parks Department historically oversees the construction of the city’s Rose Parade floats and will assume that responsibility once again, said Director Jess Duran.
He said he’s already spoken with the entry’s usual builder, who’s assured the float would be completed in time if the money is committed.
In recent years, the city has shelled out more than six figures to cover costs and paid $135,000 to build one that featured an animated “Meatball,” the famed Glendale bear that roamed local streets, for the 2014 parade.
There was a previous iteration of the Glendale Rose Float Assn., but it dissolved in 2011.
Glendale went without a float in 2015’s New Year’s Day parade for the first time in 100 years mainly due to economic setbacks.
This time around, the association has a thought-out plan to entice business sponsors with a series of perks in exchange for contributions in the tens of thousands.
Ochoa said he’s impressed with what he’s seen from the association.
“These are very motivated folks … you have to give them a lot of credit for really stepping into the fray and taking some responsibility for the fundraising effort,” he said.
Sorem said private citizens aren’t being asked for donations yet until city funding is awarded.
Part of the plan would be take some of the fundraising money and pay however much as possible back to the city, but more importantly, garner enough to rely on small contributions from City Hall in future years, Sorem said.
Duran said he doesn’t expect the full $200,000 paid back this year, but that the association does seem to have the intention of making Glendale’s Rose Parade float an institution again.
“I think it’s what we can all hope for,” said Duran. “It’ll be a test for the association.”
Source: Glendale News-Press