Mayor says no more money going to Jubilee

The downtown Montgomery alleyway is full during the city's first Staycation.
The downtown Montgomery alleyway is full during the city's first Staycation.

Posted by: Melissa McKinney - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - It has been a while since downtown Montgomery saw much activity.

And according to locals, they don't want to see it end.

"When the community puts on those type of activities it's a very enjoyable experience. It's good clean fun," says Montgomery resident, Barry Waite.

But Mayor Todd Strange doesn't want to see it end either.

"Our total cost was about $14,000 dollars. To be able to do that, and we had a $1.5 million or so economic impact to us."

Staycation's success has Mayor Strange anxious to plan another.

"At least every quarter," he says.

With only $14,000 invested, it's a cheaper alternative to another Montgomery event the Mayor says won't get the city support it's used to this year--Jubilee City Fest.

"I told Marianne [McLeod] this week that she ought to plan her budget around no city money going in upfront," says Strange.

It's a decision Jubilee leaders say hurts especially since attendance was down 15% this year compared to last forcing festival leaders to dip into reserve funds just to break even.

"It's going to negatively impact the event," says Jubilee City Fest Executive Director, Marianne McLeod.

McLeod says that means changes are coming.

"We meet with our board, we meet with committees and just discuss what is the future of Jubilee?  It may not be a music festival anymore."

While Mayor Strange believes Staycation is here to stay, it doesn't necessarily push Jubilee out.

"I don't know if it's [Jubilee's] replacement, but it will certainly be a part of us moving forward."

The Mayor says he doesn't want to see Jubilee end entirely but believes it needs changing. He wants the event to be more family friendly and possibly indoors to avoid the rain. He says the city will still support the festival with services like security, and garbage pick-up.

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