One might call Valleyfest a three-day, late-summer celebration and community gathering that is uniquely Spokane Valley and attracts visitors from throughout the region.
Others might call it the elephant in the room.
The subject of Valleyfest was not broached by members of the Spokane Valley City Council last week, as discussion centered on the second round of funding recommendations from the Lodging Tax Advisory Committee. Valleyfest was snubbed of a $50,000 request by the council in the first go-around late last fall – the first time the event did not receive money generated from overnight stays in local hotels and motels since Spokane Valley became a city.
At the time, former City Council Member Bill Gothmann said the slight could jeopardize Valleyfest’s future in the city.
“There are movements to seek a location in a more friendly, such as the fine city just east of us,” he said.
Indications point to the possibility Valleyfest could again be denied when the council, which has final say on the disbursements, decides on the issue on March 27. Last month, when the Lodging Tax Advisory Committee met to make its list of potential recipients, only two of the five members voted to give any funding to Valleyfest.
Peggy Doering, a member of the committee and director of Valleyfest, was joined by Brenda Grassel, a member of the City Council and chairwoman of the committee, in recommending funding. Valleyfest applied for $50,000 for regional marketing efforts, and Doering suggested at least $36,000 be given. Grassel suggested $15,000. The
It will be up to the council to decide how it wants to dole out the $169,200 available for Round 2. The council could, however, award up to $294,000, but that would require an amendment to the 2012 budget, said Mark Calhoun, city finance director, when he presented the information to the council on Feb. 28.
While Valleyfest wasn’t discussed, the Spokane Arts Council was. The SVAC has asked for $50,000 for a statue that could be placed on city property where Sprague and Appleway meet at Thierman. However, after a check with the state auditor’s office, Calhoun said he doesn’t think it would be an appropriate use of the funds.
“The city would need to demonstrate how it would receive tourism (from the statue),” Calhoun said. “So, no, it does not meet the qualifications that tourism would increase in Spokane Valley.”
The committee has suggested the bulk of the money to the Spokane Convention and Visitors Bureau, who missed the first round of lodging tax allocations in the fall.
Other allocations could go to the Spokane Valley Heritage Museum and the Spokane County Fair and Expo Center.