The Parks andRecreation Department has released an RPF (Request forProposals) that will allow private companies to take on theresponsibility of the Trail of Lights. In the wake of severe budgetcuts, this is the City's attempt to keep the annual tradition aliveand affordable for the public.
"We need to do this because we are not in the most wonderfuleconomic times," said Jason Maurer with Austin's Park andRecreation Department. "So, really this is a way to explore anotheroption. Is there another resource out there that we can considerthat can produce this event on behalf of the city?"
The event draws in about 250,000 people each year and broke arecord in 2007, with more than 400,000 people showing up to see thedazzling display. But, with a cost of $800,000 to the City, its nowgetting scrutiny as Austin looks to cut any fat from thebudget.
"The council will ultimately decide on what to do with it," saidMaurer. "But, we are still planning the event right now as ifeverything was normal."
As for what kind of businesses would likely bid on the project,Maurer said there are plenty of options in Austin to choosefrom.
"Hundreds of events happen here that are produced by privatecompanies, so I think this city is filled with the talent toproduce an event like we do," he said.
The RPF states requirements for any entity looking to take overthe display:
- Honor and celebrate the annual family friendly tradition of the Trail of Lights.
- Focus on affordability to the public, and sustainability of the event.
- Maintain the event according to the safety, operational and logistic standards required by the City of Austin.
- Target a starting year of 2009 or 2010.
The RFP will close on August 11 and will become an action itemfor City Council on September 24.
An armed robbery in South Austin set off a search for two men with guns early Friday morning.
Two school buses and a car crashed on eastbound Parmer Lane near Ranch Road 620 on Friday morning but there were no reports of injuries.
A local road project more than two decades in the making won't save drivers as much time as many had hoped.
The University of Texas Board of Regents adjourned Thursday without taking action on the job status of embattled UT President Bill Powers.
Longhorns coach Mack Brown talked with reporters Thursday for the first time since reports surfaced this week that he could be stepping down.
Patchy light rain is forecast in Central Texas Friday as an upper level disturbance moves across the state. Rainfall totals are expected to be very light, and showers will end by Friday night. Sunshine, but breezy and cool conditions are …