Citifest in Hock to FifthThird Bank for $40k

CitiFest, the organization that hosts the downtown Rally-by-the-River fest (used to be Party In The Park) also runs the Erie Street Market (ESM). But so far this year, ESM expenses have caused CitiFest to go into the red to the tune of $40,000.

The ESM has lost $90,000 so far this year. This in a broken-down attempt to provide Toledo with a marketplace. It was a good idea in the beginning, ten years ago, but like everything commercial that Toledo politician get their fingers into, it eventually failed. Somewhat like the Portside experiment during the '80s.

I won't go into the reasons for the ESM failure, which began shortly after it opened in 1997 and accelerated in 2001. That was partially explained in another recent posting on SwampBubbles.

But isn't it time, you may ask, for the city to sell off that eyesore and miserable drain on the city? Well, it can't. Apparently, because the facility was funded by Federal funds (and probably State of Ohio and City of Toledo, too), it can't be touched for another several years.

What's to be done? The ESM will sit mostly idle for another couple of years due to lack of city ideas. It's a damn shame because a resourceful entrepreneur could really do something with that place.

No votes yet

Where is the money? The Alps maybe?

"Councilman Mark Sobczak, chairman of council

... did the city lose anything? Is the farmer's market still working? I used to go there, but I haven't in a few years (my mom was the main reason I went). Maybe we are better off going back to the way things used to be. A few stalls probably didn't cost much to the city. People got their produce. All the "fancy" shops that the city has tried to rent to don't seem to attract much business. How much was spent to build the place, and what have we reaped in return? It does seem a waste. And I doubt private enterprise could do much better. Any "resourceful entrepreneur" have any ideas on how to scam some money from the tax-payers? Maybe we could let some loser have it rent-free, tax-free and see how they could still lose money.

Old South End Broadway

But then again if we were to let someone else give it a go and they made it successful just envision the 22nd. floor of One Government Center exploding.

CitiFest, Erie St. Market fail to pay employees

At least 10 employees of the Erie Street Market and CitiFest Inc. - some part-time, some full-time - didn't receive their biweekly paycheck Friday because of the financial problems of the market and its management agency, CitiFest.

It was not clear yesterday when the employees would get their pay.

Brian Epstein, chairman of the CitiFest board, would provide no details of a board meeting held yesterday but said he believed the board was close to a solution.

CitiFest is overdrawn by about $40,000 on its account at Fifth Third Bank.

CitiFest has overseen the Erie Street Market through a management agreement since 2004, and the funds of both organizations are kept in one account, officials have said.

The arrears mentioned in the Blade do not include monies owed to vendors who extended credit to the market. I know an ESM supplier who is owed more than $6,000 by the market. The small businessman takes the hit and doesn't even make the papers. Happens all the time.

Why are we still feeding this pig??

Is this even legal? What about the banquet hall there? Is it right for the city to subsidize the banquet hall and then have it go out and compete against other small banquet halls who's owners' taxes are going to feed the city one theyre competing with??

There are all sorts of other markets in town - same scenario.

If Citifest didn't have to run the Erie Street Market would it be a "cash cow"? Is it supposed to be a "cash cow", or just a venue to bring people down-town to sell beer by private vendors? Pete put the blame for Citifest's debt on the Erie Street Market. Is it truly only the Market's presence that is bankrupting Citifest?

Old South End Broadway

I should change this from "Erie Street Market" to read "CitiFest". I believe the vendor supplied CitiFest specifically.

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