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He Said, She Said: Public Funding and The Park

Bradford’s earlier post about the proposed PID for Klyde Warren Park refers to today’s DMN story by Robert Wilonsky, which mentions a bone of contention between Jody Grant and the arts pooh-bahs. In a nutshell, Bob writes, they’re questioning Grant’s assertion that “he never said park officials wouldn’t ask the public for help funding the park.”

But editing D‘s special issue last year about Klyde Warren, I didn’t see anything from the backers about a possible public improvement district. When I asked Grant in a Q&A for that issue about how the park would be financed and operated going forward, he replied:

For continuing operations, we will have an operating budget of about $2.5 million to $3 million a year. Our challenge will be to run the park on a break-even basis.

Q: How are you going to do that?
SG: The template is the Biederman plan from Bryant Park. He gets sponsors for various things in the park, and then he gets that source of revenue from a restaurant. And he has never had to go out and raise any money at all. Revenue just comes in.

Q: But all the park activities will be free. So you need corporate support?
JG: Not corporate donations, but business sponsorships—or it could be individuals. We’ll be going to somebody like an AT&T, for example, and asking them if they will sponsor x event in the park. …

Q: How much money do you expect the restaurant to generate each year?
JG: I would hope it might cover as much as 20 percent of our budget—that’s total, for food and beverage services in the park, including catering.

Wait! There’s one guy who can maybe clear this up. Could somebody please go ask Mark Banta about it?