Less than a month after Glendale went without a float in the Tournament of Roses Parade — the first time in a century — a group of local residents is working toward ensuring a Jewel City entry into the New Year’s Day event in 2016.
About two dozen people met at the Church of Brethren Wednesday night to discuss the first of the necessary steps: raising money.
Historically, City Hall has footed the bill for a parade float — which typically costs more than $100,000 — but the City Council opted not to spend any money on a 2015 entry, citing budget issues.
The decision to forego a float angered longtime volunteers who worked on past floats and held the long-running tradition in high regard.
“Hopefully, working together as a team, we can ensure that not only do we have a float in 2016, but that we have one as long as there is a city of Glendale and there is a Tournament of Roses Parade,” said resident Cindy Slaughter, who organized the meeting.
City Manager Scott Ochoa, who attended, said the council gave direction last year to support a nonprofit fundraising group.
“Focus on building a list of people and the association,” he said while addressing the audience. “You’re all here now. I advise you not to wait another 30, 45 or 60 days.”
And it’s possible the City Council may decide to fund a float again, even partially, Ochoa said.
Between April and June, the council will be presented with various options ranging from fully funding the float to seeding just some of the money needed, he said.
Ochoa said various cost-cutting measures and workforce layoffs in recent years have helped balance the city budget.
A split approach that would have a future float entry paid for between the city and fundraising dollars is something Slaughter said she would like to pursue.
Councilman Dave Weaver, who’s led decoration efforts for many years, who was also in attendancesaid he would vote in favor of spending city money on a float.
He said garnering $50 donations from 1,000 people would generate $50,000. Getting in touch with local homeowners associations would be a good place to start, he added.
Weaver also suggested that once a nonprofit was formed, volunteers should develop a database of potential donors and reach out to them.
City Spokesman Tom Lorenz said the fundraising group could use GTV 6 and the monthly City Connection newsletter to promote its website or a fundraising event.
Slaughter set up another meeting for next Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Glendale Church of the Brethren, 626 N. Pacific Ave. to begin forming the nonprofit.
“We need to keep it positive,” she said. “If we start playing the blame game or if it’s something where we expect the city to pay for everything, the community is going to lose interest.”
Source: Glendale News-Press