At the latest city council workshop, members decided how to spend $2 million in special events and cultural amenities funds, also known as SECA. This year, the city received 91 SECA grant applications totaling $3.2 million dollars.
Despite having $2 million available from the city’s food and beverage tax to allocate for those grants, almost a quarter is already committed.
About $433,500 will pay for recurring agreements with the DuPage Children’s Museum, the Naperville Municipal Band, and for maintenance of the Riverwalk.
After that, the council majority agreed upon allocating funds to the Naperville Men’s Glee Club, Ribfest, The Jaycee’s Last Fling and the Century Walk’s Public Art Program because of it’s impact on the city.
“At the end of the day, when we give them money, what [the Century Walk has] here stays here,” said Councilman Paul Hinterlong. “It’s not like a one time fund that it’s going to an event and so many people attend, but their work stays here for generations.”
One of the most discussed applications came from the Naperville Park District. They requested about $574,000 for improvements at Sportsman’s Park; something the SECA Advisory commission didn’t think met the guidelines.
“There are some commission members that aren’t fond of capital projects, but I am,” said Councilman Steve Chirico. “I like it because it’s the gift that keeps on giving. We get to enjoy these types of things, in some cases for 100 years or more.”
Council rep to the SECA commission, Steve Chirico, suggested a three-year funding plan to both help the project and to be fair to the other applicants.
First, the project would get about $27,000 in 2015 SECA funds, the left over after all other funds were allocated, as well as $42,000 in 2014 SECA funds that wasn’t used and was returned to the city.
Then for the next two years, the Park District will get the funds from the 2% escalation in the SECA fund equaling $40,000 next year and another $40,800 in 2016, which would still need formal approval each year.
“If that turns out not to play out in reality then we may be over committing to this effort and then disappointing some others, who we would have to deprive to meet our commitment,” said Councilman Robert Fieseler.
The majority voted yes to the multi-year plan. All SECA allocations will be formally approved at an April meeting.
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