The Park District’s Fourth of July celebration was a popular and artistic success but a money loser this year. The Park District lost more than $16,200 this year, nearly $5,000 more than it did a year ago for the celebration that concludes with its well known fireworks show. Last year the deficit was $11,380.
Park district officials said they are looking for ways to cut that loss next year.
“It is a goal to break even and somehow maybe make money,” Park District Executive Director Larry Piekarz said.
The biggest expense for the Fourth of July was the $13,000 for the fireworks show. That expense will probably not be reduced because the fireworks are what bring out the crowds, Piekarz said.
But Piekarz is hoping that the Park District can attract donations and sponsorships from businesses next year. This year the Park District received only $1,950 in donations, down from approximately $6,000 a year ago.
Business donations may have slumped because of fundraising efforts for the village’s centennial celebration, Piekarz said. Also, the vehicle sticker donation program, which in the past sent money to the Park District to help pay for fireworks, went to the village’s centennial instead.
The Park District paid $4,009 to Clowning Around Amusements, which provided entertainment during the day. The district also paid $1,250 to the company that facilitated the motorized bathtub races.
The park is looking to increase revenue next year, rather than severely cutting expenses.
“I think everything we spent was pretty essential for the day running well,” Superintendent of Recreation Erin Parchert told the park board at its monthly meeting last week.
Piekarz said he hopes to find a business to sponsor the musical performance next year. The district paid $1,500 to the Hip Pokit band for a 90 minute performance.
In large part, revenue during the event is generated by food sales. This year some $7,800 was amassed from the sale of tickets for food vendors. The district also earned $1,480 from raffle tickets and glow in the dark bracelets. Booth fees brought in another $1,175.
Also at Thursday’s park board meeting, the board raised the rental fees for the park’s soccer field, known as Veteran’s Stadium, to $60 an hour for residents and $120 an hour for non-residents, a $20 an hour increase. The new rates will go into effect in September.
This is the first increase on rental fees for the soccer field since the fenced in field was opened in 2004. Forest Park schools and Forest Park Youth Soccer will still be able to use the field free of charge.