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Mill Creek City Council approves funds for Town Center events

Mill Creek City Council approves funds for Mill Creek Town Center events
Funds for Mill Creek Town Center events approved

During the May 8th City Council Meeting, the Mill Creek City Council voted 4-1-1 to approve funds from its contingency budget to support three events being planned by the Mill Creek Town Center Business Association. Mayor Pro Tem Kathy Nielsen, Councilmember Donna Michelson, Councilmember Terry Ryan, and Mayor Mike Todd voted “yes;” Councilmember Bart Masterson voted “no;” and Councilmember Mark Harmsworth abstained. Councilmember Mark Bond couldn’t attend the City Council meeting because of a work conflict.

This summer’s Mill Creek Art Walk will receive $500, the Summer Concert Series will receive $1,000, and the Halloween Treats on Main Street will receive $1,000 from the City.

Linda Knox, President of the Mill Creek Town Center Business Association, also requested $2,000 for the Santa Parade, but the City Council directed the acting City Manager, Tom Gathmann, to get additional information regarding how these funds will be spent before deciding whether or not to provide the money.

The Mill Creek Art Walk is a new event for the City. It is patterned after the Edmonds Third Thursday Art Walk, which brings 500 to 600 visitors to Edmonds each day it is held.

Mill Creek’s Art Walk will be held on June 14, July 12, and August 9. On each of these days artists will display their work in a number of Town Center merchant locations. Maps and banners will direct art lovers to each merchant supporting the event. The City’s $500 will help pay for advertising, printing costs, and Mill Creek Town Center’s paid administration time. The total estimated cost for this event is $1,800.

The 2012 Town Center Concert Series hasn’t been announced yet, but last year it was held each Wednesday evening in July and August at The Forum. The City’s $1,000 will help pay for band performance fees, The Forum use fees, flyers/posters/banners, ASCAP license fee, and paid Mill Creek Town Center’s administrative time. Last year’s Town Center Concert Series cost approximately $11,400.

The Treats on Main Street Halloween event is normally held a couple of hours before the City’s separate Trunk or Treat Halloween event. Main Street is blocked off during the Treats on Main Street event while participating merchants pass out candy and actors in costumes entertain visitors. It seems the City’s $1,000 will pay for City police services, Mill Creek Town Center paid administrative time, and paid actors in costumes. Last year’s Treats on Main Street Halloween event cost $1,000.

Councilmember Bart Masterson feels that City money shouldn’t pay for two of the events, “This event (Mill Creek Town Center Concert Series) is uniquely specified to one area of town to the exclusion of the rest of the town and I have a problem with that. The Treats on Main Street is piggybacking on our very successful Trunk and Treat program of our Parks and Recreation Department and I am loath to find why we should put money towards that effort when our effort and our staff’s time goes to creating the main attraction.” Masterson wanted to support the Mill Creek Art Walk event, but the vote was for funding all of the events or none of the events.

Mayor Pro Tem Kathy Nielsen supports the three events, “My reasoning for supporting this (Mill Creek Town Center Concert Series) is that it draws the community to a focal point of our community… That is what economic development is good for, bringing people into our community.”

Councilmember Terry Ryan also supports the events, “I support this (Mill Creek Town Center Series) because it is a community thing that brings people into the community.”

Councilmember Mark Harmsworth abstained from the vote because of a potential conflict, “I need to abstain from this due to my relationship with Mrs. Knox. We know each other as friends and it would look a little strange if I voted for this, as she is the primary contact here… I abstain for the appearance of fairness and to avoid the conflict of interest.”

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