Council committee votes against funding for downtown holiday market

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June 23, 2014 // UPDATED 9:07 am - June 24, 2014
By: Sarah McKenzie
A holiday market at Bryant Square Park in New York City.
Sarah McKenzie

A City Council committee has voted no on a proposal to set aside $395,000 in city funds for a new Holidazzle District with a winter market planned to replace the Holidazzle Parade this year.

Members of the Council's Ways and Means Budget Committee raised questions about the city's protocol for funding events at its meeting Monday, noting downtown Minneapolis hosts scores of events that don't receive support from the city.

City staff had proposed tapping $300,000 in Convention Center funds and $95,000 from the City Coordinator's budget to assist the Downtown Council with preparations for the Holidazzle District.

The idea for the winter market would take inspiration from holiday markets popular in other cities in North America and Europe. Public dollars for the event would be matched by $1.3 million in private support.

Downtown Council President and CEO Steve Cramer said the proposed $395,000 contribution from the city is critical for making the winter market a reality this year. The Downtown Council is also in talks with the mayor's office for funding for a holiday event as part of the 2015 city budget. 

The Holidazzle Parade ended a 21-year run in 2013. It was launched as an effort to encourage holiday shopping at downtown retailers. 

Without a signature holiday event, Cramer said the city stands to lose out on hundreds of thousands of visitors. 

The full Council will vote on the proposed Holidazzle District at its meeting on Friday, June 27. 

City Council Member Jacob Frey (Ward 3), who represents downtown neighborhoods, said he's supportive of the proposal to fund the Holidazzle District. 

"The winter market is a way of activating downtown during times of infrequent traffic. The investment by the city will get the bang for the buck," he said.