Saturday was one of those almost but not quite days for the Campbell County boys soccer team. Top-ranked and consensus favorite to win the Class 4A state soccer tournament, the Camels fell just …
Afraid you missed the citywide picnic?
Not this year. The City Council agreed during its budgetary process to let it go for a while.
The picnic started in the early 1990s to celebrate the city’s final payment on the first Madison water pipeline. The city burned the bonds for effect, city spokesman Joe Lunne said.
The July picnic became an annual event and eventually was coupled with weekly downtown festival throughout the month. Every Thursday night of July businesses were open late and Gillette Avenue was closed for the Main Street Festival. On one of those Thursdays, the city picnic that was in City Hall’s parking lot would add to the festivities and people could filter back and forth, Lunne said.
The Main Street Festival stopped four years ago, leaving the city picnic as a stand-alone affair. The last two years, the city hosted the picnic at Dalbey Memorial Park, and the participation levels dropped significantly. Last summer, at most 450 people attended the picnic, whereas three years ago there were about 1,700 people, Lunne said.
That prompted the City Council to question continuing the annual picnic, which costs $10,000.
At the beginning of the budget season, city officials suggested that the council halt its contribution to county Fourth of July events because it’s outside the scope of the city. But the council opted instead to cut the picnic and take $4,000 of that money to continue to help pay for July 4 festivities, which have grown in popularity and activities over the years.
The picnic may come back in future years, potentially once the second Madison pipeline is paid off, which the city estimates to happen in late 2015.
“We just felt like tying it to the Madison,” Lunne said. “Once we get it paid off, then we’ll start the picnic up again to celebrate.”