Looks like the city, once again, will spring for portable toilets, road barricades and security at Last Thursday next week.
That's despite two meetings between the mayor's office and supporters of the event, and a tentative willingness by Friends of Last Thursday—the volunteer organization that had helmed the street fair since 2011 before resigning last month—to resume its role.
"I'm planning on managing it again," Chad Stover, a policy assistant in Mayor Charlie Hales' office, said this afternoon. Stover said talks with stakeholders, including FoLT, were productive in recent weeks. But no one's formally applied for a permit to run the event in coming months, and Stover says FoLT informed him it's not going to be involved next week.
FoLT coordinator Jeff Hilber has yet to return my call. He'd previously said his group had conditions it wanted other neighborhood organizations to meet before FoLT would take up its old duties, including recruiting volunteers. The group had also taken steps to put volunteers through formal training, and had agreed with a suggestion to reopen NE Alberta at 9:30 pm rather than 10.
"We need to know this week whether everybody on this list is gonna step up," Hilber told me last week. "We finally came to the conclusion that, as much as we love this event and as much as we envision the potential of this event, it can’t rest on the backs of two or three people."
So what does all this mean for your tax dollars?
The city spent almost $3,000 last month on the street fair, according to figures Stover provided. But that's a drop in the bucket compared to the taxpayer money that's been dumped into the event for years.
Even with FoLT providing security and toilets, the city spends tens of thousands of dollars on Last Thursday annually. In FY 2012, more than $80,000 went to the street fair, split between four city bureaus, according to numbers obtained by the Mercury. The year before, almost $110,000 went into the event. According to the figures, the city's costs slackened a bit in calendar year 2012 (it paid about $56,100), with the biggest savings from Bureau of Transportation services that weren't needed.