Uptown Greenwood's popularity as a destination point has grown by phenomenal steps.
Live After Five, Festival of Flowers and the Festival of Discovery and Greenwood Blues Cruise are now staples, but more and more groups are wanting to make the central city the staging grounds for their events.
Setup for events — bleachers, stages, traffic routing, tents, gates, public works, law enforcement — are often necessary. How to accommodate all these events is a good problem for the city officials to have, too.
As a result, the city manager's office has a twofold proposal before City Council. One is to establish an application process for events. With the proper information in hand, the proper city staff can determine what the needs will be for each event. That avoids unnecessary workload and equipment coming into play for events and just makes good sense. The proposed $25 application fee is hardly a profit-maker for the city.
Other fees are under consideration, and that might cause a bit of consternation among some using the Uptown area, especially if they are city residents who might be inclined to think their tax dollars should sufficiently cover their use of city equipment and personnel. We would disagree.
Following is the fee schedule as currently proposed:
* Stage rental anywhere between $100 and $150.
* Tents $15 or $25, depending on size.
* Tables would rent at $5 apiece, chairs at $1 apiece.
* Security detail would be at $25 per hour with a two-hour minimum.
Those are hardly extreme rates. Anyone who ever rented a private venue can attest to the fact the city's proposed fee schedule is minimal.
Consider something here called wear and tear. The tents, tables, stages, chairs and such are not free. The city does not maintain an endless supply. At some point, as items are used more and more, they will need to be replaced. It only makes good sense a fee structure be applied toward that end.
Granted, the events can and do draw people to the city's central point, and that is good. But not every event is or should be considered on par with such events as the festivals that draw larger and more diverse crowds.
City Council might be reticent on this one for various reasons, but from our vantage point it just makes good business sense that above and beyond the city-sanctioned events that are more of a tourism draw, the city recoup some of its costs by charging nominal fees and ensuring these various activities go smoothly.