(WSB photo from 2010 West Seattle Grand Parade, by Christopher Boffoli)
Yet another city-budget shock wave is rippling tonight – this time, one that casts a cloud over a decades-old West Seattle summertime tradition.
American Legion Post 160, longtime sponsor of the midsummer West Seattle Grand Parade, has just started planning for this year’s parade, set for July 23rd, and has learned it’s facing a big new bill – not unlike the local youth-sports leagues that are suddenly paying thousands more than they used to.
Last year, we reported on the close call American Legion Post 160 and other summertime event sponsors had with a city “cost-recovery” proposal – at one point in May, it looked like events happening just weeks later might have to pay for their own traffic control, which the city has always picked up, and that could have cost the West Seattle Grand Parade $1,500 it didn’t have.
Given the short notice and big protests from other affected groups, the city decided to pull back for last year, while issuing a warning about this year’s budget. So now, it’s 2011. Post 160’s parade chair Dave Vague tells WSB, “Although the city has not changed its fee schedule for the parade, the Seattle DOT is now requiring us to handle all of our own No Parking signs. I asked one of the barricade companies for a bid and it is going to cost us $3,000 to put up all of the signs. Needless to say, this is too large a burden for the American Legion to take on by themselves now.”
The “no fee-schedule change” to which Vague refers cuts both ways. As explained in our story last year, while the obvious solution would seem to be for Post 160 to charge entry fees for commercial participants, they can’t; parades that charge entry fees are charged sharply higher permit fees. Right now, so that their permit fees stay low, there’s no fee for anyone to enter (though some donations are received).
So how to handle the $3,000? Vague says, Post 160 is turning to you for ideas and support:
We are looking to the West Seattle Community to help us raise the necessary funds for the parade or help us find a sponsor or sponsors to help us with the cost. If your readers would like to donate or have ideas on how we could raise the funds needed, they can contact the American Legion at (206) 935-9407 or write me at email@example.com.
(WSB photo from 2010 West Seattle Grand Parade, by Mindon Win)
As longtime fans of the West Seattle Grand Parade, and co-sponsor of multiple community events each year since we became a business, we have already said (as we did last year) that WSB will be first in line to be a sponsor if Post 160 decides to go that route. What’s your thought about the best solution? Let Post 160 know, and/or post a comment here.