City, Marathon Foundation Reach Deal Over Division Of Costs
By JENNA CARLESSO
January 15, 2013
HARTFORD —— In 2011, the city discontinued its longstanding practice of granting fee waivers for special events held in Hartford, opting instead to collect flat fees up front for police, permits and other city services.
But while the new system covered fees for parades, festivals and other activities, marathons and other races weren't included in the plan. How much money race organizers should pay has been the subject of ongoing negotiations, with some suggesting that marathon foundations pick up the entire tab.
On Monday, the city reached an agreement with the Hartford Marathon Foundation that calls for both parties to share in the cost of city services for the ING Hartford Marathon — a popular, annual event that drew 17,000 runners and 70,000 spectators last fall. Under the deal, the foundation would pay a fee of $60,000 in 2012, 2013 and 2014, though the city has right to increase the amount if its fixed costs rise. The city would pick up the remainder of the costs — about $40,000.
City officials have pointed out the event's economic benefit to the city. The marathon has generated about $11 million in economic activity in the Hartford region in recent years, with runners staying in area hotels and dining in restaurants, said Beth Shluger, the marathon's director.
Shluger said Tuesday that she was happy with the agreement.
"The city recognizes the value and benefit that the marathon provides, and wants to keep the marathon in Hartford for years to come," she said.
"The economic input to the community is worth significantly more than" what the city is paying, city council President Shawn Wooden said of the marathon. "The numbers are pretty impressive in terms of [people] filling hotel rooms and eating at restaurants."
Under an amended city ordinance, the mayor can make recommendations to the city council on what portion of the fees Hartford should pay for services associated with races. The council must approve the final agreement between the city and any organization hosting a race.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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