Earlier this year, the Shreveport city council set an unfortunate precedent in voting for assistance by Shreveport Parks & Recreation (SPAR) to a local event.
The council approved 3 requests by “for profit” companies with no conditions.
The request by Crawfest for similar SPAR support was conditioned on a payback provision. The Crawfest organization is a “for profit” company.
No real distinction was made by the Council in the votes. However there are key differences in the events themselves.
Two of the three approved with no conditions have admission fees. The third did not - nor did Crawfest.
Crawfest was a free 2-day event. Over 15,000 attended the event at Betty Virginia Park.
In total, the Shreveport city council has approved 17 Shreveport Parks and Recreation (SPAR) cooperative endeavor agreements in its first 4 months.
SPAR support can include portalets, golf cars, stages, trash cans, tables and chairs, podium and sound system, barricades, clean up, and personnel. The agreements can also fund services from Shreveport Police Department, Traffic and Engineering, and/or Streets and Drainage.
Each resolution includes the rental cost of the equipment and the direct labor costs.
The total cost/expenses of these 17 approvals exceeded $132 grand.
The request for SPAR support for Crawfest was closely scrutinized and criticized. This request was valued at $10,980.96.
Ultimately it was approved with a required payback provision if the revenues to the organizers exceeded a stated minimum. This is the first time the council has ever made this requirement.
Crawfest organizers were dissed because they were a “for profit” venture. Ultimately they decided to forego the requested SPAR assistance.
Events approved this year:
African American Celebration Corporation for the African American Parade $29,345
Robinson’s Rescue Best in Sheaux $1764
(tickets must be purchased)
Aseana Foundation $6401.96
(2 events - free admission)
Barksdale Air Force Base Air Show $11,000
Shreveport Green for Great American Cleanup $1134.10
(no participation fee)
Mt. Olive Baptist Church $320
National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration $384
(no tickets required)
North Shreveport Business Association $2475
(2 events - tickets must be purchased)
South Highland Neighborhood Association Spring Fling $1922.48
Southern Hills Music in the Park $2935.60
Red River Balloon Rally $11636.80
(tickets must be purchased)
La. Film Fest for Taco Wars $4562
Sportspectrum-5 road races $5000
Criteria should be set to determine the type of events that receive SPAR/city support with or without reimbursement requirements. Additionally, the issue of “for profit” or “non profit” should be visited.
Most of the events supported by SPAR have venues in only one council district versus being city-wide. Eleven events have been approved for SPAR support that were/will be held in council member Levette Fuller’s district. And there will be more this year in her district.
Fuller was the author of the Crawfest amendment requiring reimbursement. She should take the lead on this establishment of criteria for SPAR supported events.