Annual Street Party changes on horizon

By Stephanie Grinnell | Apr 12, 2019
Photo by: Ethan Andrews The Belfast Street Party offers an annual reprieve from the summer rat race.

Belfast — “There will be a Belfast Street Party in August,” City Councilor Mike Hurley wrote to downtown business owners this week.

His assurance came after Our Town Belfast’s promotions committee said it “decided that we will be stepping away from the summer street party in 2019.”

Our Town Belfast Executive Director Zach Schmesser wrote, "Despite our love for and support of the summer street party, after a decade, we realized that we want to work on other projects."

Speaking by phone, Schmesser said the nonprofit is "exploring options that are a better fit for businesses" and for Our Town Belfast's mission — which is to "grow and sustain our historic downtown while celebrating our unique cultural heritage," according to its website.

Schmesser noted there are other organizations that have expressed an interest in continuing the event, a point Hurley also emphasized in a proposal to Our Town Belfast's Board of Directors in a email earlier this month.

While plans remain fluid, Hurley offered a proposal that would discontinue Church Street activities while increasing offerings for children.

“We will form a new committee to organize the event with street party supporters from Our Town Belfast and the community,” Hurley wrote.

“We have reached out and have participation support from The Game Loft, The Belfast Creative Coalition, The Belfast Lions Club, Kids Unplugged and others,"he wrote. "At this point we believe we have enough organizational support to organize and put on the street party, offset most of the organizational and volunteer demands that challenged Our Town Belfast, and this is what we are proposing to do.”

Hurley offered to head up the new committee and also addressed funding, which has traditionally been provided by the city though Our Town Belfast’s annual budget.

“I’m not sure how we proceed from here with funding the street party and Our Town Belfast,” he said. “I would hope there would continue to be some level of support, integration and volunteers for the street party from Our Town Belfast staff and volunteers.”

 

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