Friday, March 19, 2010

3RF seeks advice for rebound, survival

DATE: March 17, 2010
BY: Venjamin Lanka / The Journal Gazette
DETAILS: Fort Wayne's largest festival should have a consultant to help with planning within a few weeks.

The Downtown Improvement District will select one of two prospective consultants in coming weeks to help the Three Rivers Festival stage the event this year and into the future. The district's board was provided an update on the festival Tuesday.

Rich Davis, downtown district director, said although his organization will pay for the consultant – up to $25,000 – the adviser will really work for the festival.

The district agreed to help the struggling festival after some turmoil within the festival's ranks became public this year.

The festival board dismissed its executive director and subsequently lost several board members, including the board president and the treasurer.

The festival has not made a profit in three years. Last year, losses reached $40,000.

Davis said he plans to meet with festival officials this week to discuss the prospective consultants.

Whoever is selected will be asked to do three tasks for the festival.

The first will be to provide management advice for this summer's event.

This means getting the board, its committees and sponsors to meet with the consultant.

Second, the consultant will update a 2007 strategic plan that assessed which festival attractions made money and which ones ran a deficit.

Finally, the consultant will help put on a larger community forum to help determine the long-term future of the festival. Davis said such a forum would be held within 60 days of the festival and should look at how to make the event viable for years to come.

"If we're going to continue it going forward, it certainly needs to be improved," he said.

He said he would expect his board to ratify the consultant contract by next month.


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