Cedar Rapids city council approved hiring an out-of-city company to promote events and attract people to the community. The organization that used to promote the city, Go Cedar Rapids, folded last week due to overwhelming debt.
VenuWorks will pick up where Go Cedar Rapids left off. The company is under a 1-year contract with Cedar Rapids. VenuWorks already manages the U.S Cellular Center, the Paramount Theatre, and the McGrath Amphitheatre. It's based in Ames.
This all comes after Newbo Evolve failed to draw a big enough crowd and make enough money to pay vendors. Newbo Evolve was a three-day festival in August that caused Go Cedar Rapids to lose more than 2.3 million dollars.
Council members believe it’s crucial to keep tourism alive and well in Cedar Rapids. "It's important that we are continuing to promote and not let other cities use this event as they're not providing services and that their convention should go other places,” said council member Scott Olson.
The city will give VenuWorks dollars that it would have given to Go Cedar Rapids, and VenuWorks has already hired some former GO C-R employees to do this work. Two people spoke against the new contract with VenuWorks.
Although council members voted in favor of the contract, they don't see this as a permanent situation. The contract with VenuWorks is for one year, with the hope that a new convention and visitors organization will then take over.
Council also voted to allocate $545,000 to Venuworks through the hotel-motel tax.