Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Centralized Management for Special Events?

The Tacoma City Council's Government Performance and Finance Committee is proposing a new partnership with Metro Parks that would consolidate production of major events city-wide.

Under the proposal related to the committee this morning, the City of Tacoma would create a new Office of Special Events. This department would "develop an efficient, user-friendly event permit system" and provide a centralized operational planning process for new and major special events. Metro Parks believes that this approach would yield a "more effective, strategic approach to festival production in Tacoma" beginning as early as next calendar year.

The proposal is an ambitious one that merits strong consideration. The BIA has previously highlighted the lack of a unified approach to events in downtown Tacoma--a gap in the overall fabric of services that, if filled, might help bring "more feet on the street" downtown. Still, the proposal recommends higher fees for non-profits wanting to field events--an idea sure to draw fire from those sources--and many citizens will question whether a board of City and Metro Parks staffers (as currently proposed) is really the right body to decide which special events happen or don't happen in public spaces.

By the way, this proposal would impact major public events like Showcase Tacoma, community festivals and neighborhood events but not "free speech" events or ongoing activities such as sidewalk vending (if we ever have any vendors, that is)...


  1. Anonymous5:44 PM

    my neck got a kink from trying to read the proposal...

  2. Anonymous9:47 PM

    As one who has never scheduled an event through MetroParks, the City, or any other agency, I also struggle to place this into a practical context.

    The value of a centralized permitting agency?
    - "one stop" shopping?
    - simplified scheduling?
    - available assistance?

    The challenges?
    - no recourse for the denied?
    - possible "homogenization" of events?

    Is that basically the rub?

  3. Anonymous12:18 AM

    Would Tollefson Plaza be under this new group?

    Would Metro Parks do as well or better job as the City of Tacoma? Do we expect that they would be as responsive to citizens?