After much discussion, the Washington Park Commission will recommend giving the hosts of the annual Tannenbaum Auction a special rate on renting the entire city auditorium for one week in November.
Friends of Emmaus hosts the annual event, which has been held at The Homestead at Hickory View since it began in 2009. Proceeds are donated to the Emmaus Home. Last year, the group raised $24,000 and has set a goal of $30,000.
The event, however, has outgrown The Homestead and the group is looking for another venue to host the event that can hold approximately 700 people.
Because there already is an ordinance with an established rental fee, the park board does not have the authority to override the city ordinance. The city council will make the decision, but will take into consideration the recommendation from the park board.
Based on the current ordinance, rental for one week would be $3,500. Other groups do use the facility throughout the week, however, most could be moved or postponed during that week.
There is still a chance the city would lose money if classes held in the auditorium couldn’t be rescheduled.
Mark Hidritch, city council liaison, pointed out that rental of the main stage at the fairgrounds for the recent Lakeside Music Festival was $1,000 for two nights.
Because no fee had been set on the stage rental, the park board was permitted to set the special fee for the festival, which also was a fund-raising event.
Bob Kloeppel, Tessie Steffens, Debbie Toedebusch, Sparky Stuckenschneider, Dan Cassette and Karen Maniaci voted to recommend a special rate.
Bill Kackley was concerned that allowing special fees for one group could set a precedent, but ultimately voted in favor of giving the group a recommendation.
The request will move to the park board meeting. If approved, the proposal will move to the city council, which has final authority.