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Summer events crowd the docket at the May 1 LID meeting


At the regular monthly meeting on May 1, the Niwot LID Advisory Committee got a sneak peek at the Niwot Business Association’s new branding campaign, and heard about some important changes in store for this year’s Rock & Rails Summer concert series.

Boulder County liaison Mark Ruzzin kicked off the meeting with a brief discussion about officer elections, a subject curiously left out of the Committee’s bylaws.

Leadership of the nine-member Committee consists of a Chair, who conducts the meetings and documents funding approvals; the Vice-Chair, who performs the aforementioned tasks in the Chair’s absence, and the Treasurer, who manages LID financial reports. Currently, Laura Skaggs and Carrie Wise serve as Co-Chairs, Jim Eastman is Vice Chair, and Harris Faberman is Treasurer.

Since no one was entirely sure when they were last held, Ruzzin suggested that the members conduct elections for a new slate of officers immediately, if there were willing candidates available. The Committee voted to table the election until the June meeting.

The Board then reviewed the treasurer’s report. Through April 30, the LID has pledged of $74,784 from its total 2018 budget of $133,000.

Niwot Economic Development Director Catherine McHale was up next with two requests from the NBA. First, she requested $11,250 to fund the EDD position for the second half of 2018. This request was approved unanimously.

She then requested $20,460 to fund the second half of the NBA’s 2018 marketing budget. At the LID’s March 7 meeting, McHale sought $18,280 for print advertising and other marketing costs incurred through June. The bulk of this newest request will go toward additional advertising in local and regional outlets for the launch of a new marketing campaign to promote Niwot as a destination for dining and entertainment, health and wellness, and hiking and biking. McHale showed the board some samples from the new print ad series, which is expected to launch in July.

“We’re following on from the Uniquely Niwot campaign,” McHale said. “It’s about drawing visitors based on these agreed focus areas while showing that Niwot has a really unique character.”

Additional marketing efforts such as a Niwot-centered information booth, maps, and posters also figure into the NBA’s plans for the rest of the year, McHale reported. The request also included updates to Niwot.com website and additional social media costs.

After minimal discussion, the request was approved on a 6-0 vote, with member Biff Warren abstaining.

Warren and new LID member Anne Postle presented a request on behalf Niwot Cultural Arts Association (NCAA) for $2,500 to fund musicians for First Friday Art Walks held in warmer months. Hoping to foster “a vibrant and lively” event, the NCAA plans to station multiple performers at various Old Town and Cottonwood Square businesses during the art walks from May through October, with possible funding for indoor musicians during the winter months. The request was approved unanimously, with Warren again abstaining

Warren then presented a request on behalf of the NBA and NCAA for $10,000 to go towards promotional and staffing costs of the annual Rock & Rails concert series, the same amount approved for the past several years.

Now in its 13th season, the 2018 series kicks off on Thursday, June 7, and will run for 13 Thursday nights through August 30. A happy hour act will take the stage at 5 p.m., followed by the headliner from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Food and beverages, including beer, wine and margaritas, will again be available from local vendors. However, concertgoers might want to bring a little extra cash, as rising costs for insurance and security mean organizers will be raising the price of beer for the first time, from $5 to $6.

Last year was a record-breaking year for the series, at least in terms of revenues and expenses. Alcohol sales rose 23% from 2016 to top $100,000 for the first time ever, and helped boost total revenues from the 14-week event by nearly $20,000. Expenses also rose, due mostly to the purchase of a refrigerated beer trailer from Bootstrap Brewery, as well as improvements to the audio setup and gazebo. Overall, Rock & Rails netted about $14,000, which was split evenly between the NCAA and the NBA, with funds put towards such projects as the Niwot Children’s Park and improvements to Whistlestop Park.

Last year was also a record-breaking year for the Tip Jars, with proceeds going to more than 14 local non-profit organizations. Concert-goers donated a total of $15,386, an average of $1,099 per night. This year, more than 16 local programs will have a chance to collect for their programs, including the Mwebaza Foundation and the Niwot Football, volleyball, and cheerleading squads, which combine with the Niwot High Boosters for one night.

For 2018, the NCAA has budgeted for $113,650 in total expenses, which is down slightly from 2017, but 43% higher than 2016. Major costs include $29,000 for beverages and $5,000 for patrolling Boulder County sheriff’s deputies. Rock & Rails organizers are also projecting a modest rise in income, and Warren noted that this event actually puts money back into the LIDs coffers in the form of sales tax paid by food and beverage vendors, which last year totalled over $1,000.

In the discussion that followed new member LID Bruce Rabeler asked why the LID continues to fund an event that consistently generates a healthy profit. Warren responded by noting that LID support doesn’t just offset costs, it also lends an air of legitimacy to the event for vendors and volunteers.

“I at one time raised that exact objection, and I’ve come to see that this is a process that multiplies itself back into the community,” Vice-Chair Eastman said, echoing Warren’s theme. “It’s kind of seed money to generate activity in the community and funds for the community. Every penny of this is going back to community non-profits.”

After some additional discussion, the request was approved 6-0, with Warren once again abstaining.

The evening’s final request came from Kathy Koehler of the Niwot Community Association, though a miscommunication with Ruzzin left that request off the evening’s official agenda. Koehler asked for $1,540 for advertising and promotional costs associated with the town’s 4th of July Parade and celebration, a slight increase over last year ($1,390), due to higher costs for advertising and insurance. The request was approved unanimously.

The Committee will meet next at 7 p.m. on June 5 at the Mountain View Fire Station.


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