Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Event Figures Not the Full Story, St. Augustine Says; Picasso Exhibit Raises Quality of Life, Officials Argue; Also Parking Revenue

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Event Figures Not the Full Story, St. Augustine Says; Picasso Exhibit Raises Quality of Life, Officials Argue; Also Parking Revenue

Article excerpt

Byline: Peter Guinta

St. Augustine City Manager John Regan said Friday that the financial numbers for the Picasso exhibit - and for the quickly approaching Mumford & Sons concert on Sept. 14 - don't tell the entire story behind the events.

"We hold to very strict principles of municipal accounting," Regan said. "We balance all of the things that at the end of the day say St. Augustine has a higher quality of life."

Estimates say the Picasso show closing Aug. 11, for example, will cost $146,000 more than it made.

But city administrators knew that many more people would use the Downtown Parking Structure during the Picasso exhibit, and they were correct. The increase in revenues was $141,000 over last year, making up nearly all of the purported "loss," Regan said.

"We cannot, by accounting standards, assign that surplus to the VIC [Visitor Information Center]. Is it all from Picasso? I don't know. But some of it is," he said. "A survey said 40 percent of the drivers polled parked in the garage for the show."

As of Friday, 2,000 St. Johns County schoolchildren have seen the show free, learning something about how Picasso affected the world of art, Regan said. That was one of the initial requirements of the City Commission to accept the exhibit, he said.

"The commission is working hard to elevate our community and its cultural landscape, and it wants to support and recognize the importance of arts and culture as the backbone of our town," he said.

"People came here for Picasso. Walk down St. George Street and ask if Picasso had a positive impact. Those impacts don't show up in the financial figures."

Former Mayor George Gardner didn't disagree that the Picasso show was a cultural benefit.

"When they originally discussed this, they raved about how people would line up for miles to go in. The concern I hear from residents is that City Hall presented this as potentially generating revenue," he said. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.