BOISE - Each summer for nearly a decade, musicians have been performing at the Idaho Botanical Garden's Outlaw Field. The annual summer concert series accounts for about twenty percent of the garden's revenue - income that the non-profit's leaders say could soon be in jeopardy.
"With a large hit to our concert series it could reduce some of those services and programs that we are providing," said Erin Anderson, executive director of the Idaho Botanical Garden.
Anderson is worried because of a new proposal in which the City of Boise would contract with a promoter and provide another concert series in a downtown park like Ann Morrison.
"I feel like we should all be on a level playing field for competition and we don't feel like we should be in competition with an organization the size of the City of Boise," said Anderson. "We do not have the resources to compete with them."
Anderson also says there is a city code against charging admission for an event in a public park.
"So what our concern is that creating a special agreement with a concert promoter, that that ordinance won't be followed," she said.
But Boise Parks and Recreation Director Doug Holloway disagrees. He says high school baseball games and events like Art in the Park are often held in city parks and charge those attending.
He also said that the code Anderson is referring to applies to non-city events, which would not apply in this case. Holloway says the city does restrict the sale and advertisement of goods to licensed individuals and businesses only.
"There is no code requirement or code that doesn't allow this type of venue in a park," said Holloway.
He says if the proposal goes through, it wouldn't cost taxpayers anything. Instead, he says a portion of the ticket sales would go back into maintenance and improvements for city parks.
According to Holloway, the park would still be open to the public, with just one area sectioned off for the concert.
"The promoter would have an opportunity, if this moved forward to charge admission to the actual venue itself but that wouldn't preclude folks from coming to the park and putting a blanket out and listening to the concert," said Holloway.
As for competing with the Outlaw Field concert series, Boise Parks and Rec would plan their concerts at different times from Outlaw Field to avoid direct competition.
"The purpose of us looking at this is what kind of public benefit does it add to our community, and we do not in any way want to compete head-to-head with any other entities in town," said Holloway.
Promoters would also be required to pay $3,000 to rent the space, give $3 of every ticket sale back to the city, make a contribution to a local charity, and provide one free concert each year.
The bids are due next week, but so far, none have been submitted.
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