MONMOUTH - The city of Monmouth and Western Oregon University are attempting to secure funds to turn an annual summer downtown concert into a bigger tourist draw.
Officials will apply for money through the Oregon Arts Commission's recently announced Cultural Tourism Grant program.
The award, which could be worth up to $10,000, would be used to expand a public concert performed at Main Street Park every year as part of the Mel Brown Summer Jazz Workshop at WOU.
Mayor John Oberst said he had originally been examining ways the city could apply money generated through its transient room-tax to concerts or other entertainment-related ventures when staff learned of the grant.
The arts commission will disperse a total of $70,000 this year. Individual grants can be worth as much as $10,000, but require an even match by the recipient. The application deadline is Jan. 31.
"The program is designed to increase tourism through the arts, which is what we would like to do," Oberst said.
"The reality of a university town is we lose many of the 5,000 full- and part-time residents come summertime. So there's a good chunk of potential customers for Main Street businesses that disappear."
The weeklong summer music camp is directed by Mel Brown, a renowned jazz drummer from Portland, and draws noted Northwest musicians and hundreds of young people from across the state.
Oberst said Brown and Western's music department have expressed interest in turning the free exhibition into a bigger draw.
A concert headlined by professional jazz musicians is held in Main Street Park at the beginning of the event. If awarded, the grant would go toward marketing and hiring another headliner for a second performance.
The city will also investigate whether to use some of its transient tax revenue toward other existing events, such as the Monmouth Business Association-run Music in the Park series.
"We're hoping to build a real arts reputation for the community," Oberst said.
In other city news:
The City Council will consider a 1 percent to 2 percent rate increase for waste collection services during its Tuesday, Jan. 15, meeting.
Brandt's Sanitary Service has requested the hike to offset a jump in tipping fee charges - from $28.50 per ton to $30.50 - at the Coffin Butte Landfill.
Weekly pick ups for one and two cans will increase from $14.94 to $15.10 per month, and $21.24 to $21.40 per month, respectively under the proposal.
Weekly yard waste disposal will grow from $82.65 per month to $83.94.
A public hearing will be held at the Tuesday, Jan. 15, council meeting. The rates would take effect Feb. 1 if the request is approved.