By Ted AYALA
Those who thought they heard the last about tense discussions over Glendale’s Rose Parade float need to think again.
Just a little over two months after the city’s controversial 2012 Rose Float entry finally died down with the float’s trip down Colorado Boulevard on Jan. 2, debate on the city’s Rose Parade future lit up again at Tuesday’s City Council meeting. This time it was the float’s funding, as opposed to its design, that was the center of discussion.
On top of the problems stemming from last year’s float design, heated debate was sparked by ways to fund it. Glendale has enjoyed the longest uninterrupted participation in the Rose Parade’s history and many locals were loathe to end the tradition. But shrinking sources of revenue put the city’s future in the parade into doubt. It wasn’t until a last-minute rally for donations made it possible for Glendale to participate in the 2012 Rose Parade.
But in the new year, questions again loom over how to fund future floats.
“Rather than have Glendale pay for the brunt of the [float], we’re seeking to obtain corporate sponsorships to offset [our] costs, though it would still be the City of Glendale’s float,” said City Manager Scott Ochoa.
Tamara Alexanian, representing the Department of Parks and Recreation, presented the City Council with options for fundraising. A key difference this year is the disbanding of the Glendale Rose Float Association, which came under fire last year for its choice of design.
“The Glendale Adventist Medical Center has approached the city with a $35,000 sponsorship … to serve as a catalyst for other potential corporate sponsors,” noted Alexanian.
Alexanian also proposed a Rose Float committee that would oversee design proposals and drum up sponsorship for the city’s floats. According to her, the 2012 Rose Float cost $94,000. She also cited examples from other cities to gather design proposals from an open call from the public.
Though proposals had been made for the city to build the float internally, Alexanian said that there wasn’t enough time to switch over to that format before the Rose Parade’s deadline on March 30.
“We are virtually out of time,” said Jess Duran, director of the Department of Parks and Recreation. The city was urged to continue its relationship with Phoenix Decorating, which has built Glendale’s floats for over the past 20 years, through 2013.
“We can negotiate with them to get the very best price we can,” said Duran. “But $100,000 is the very bottom line for Rose Parade floats. But we need direction now so we can appropriate the $100,000 now … and get your commitment.”
He also echoed Alexanian by saying that Glendale Adventist Medical Center’s sponsorship would be a great catalyst for inspiring further donations.
“We’ve gotten calls from potential corporate sponsors saying, ‘I’d like to participate, let me know when this is going to happen,’” said Ochoa.
Marie Abrams was on hand to represent Glendale Medical Adventist Center’s sponsorship of the 2013 Rose Float.
“It provides our city with a fantastic opportunity to highlight all that it has to offer,” she said. “We’ve spoken at great length about this pledge at our hospital and we take it very seriously. We’re proud to always be on the look out to engage the community on a different level and promote our healthful message.”