The annual Saline Winterfest event is canceled for 2014, but the 5th Corner 5K run and the Snowman Building Championship of the Free World are scheduled for Jan. 25.
After a brief discussion Monday night, Saline City Council approved the use of city streets and police officers for the 5th Corner 5K run, which will begin at noon at city hall and finish at Henne Field, in time for the snowman building championship scheduled for 1 p.m.
“We will start at noon with the hope of bringing more people to the event (snowman building contest,” said Derek Stern, Vice President of the teen center's board. “The hope is that we benefit two entities at the same time.”
Participation in the race, dubbed the 2014 Snowman 5K, will cost $15. Money raised at the event could fund the non-profit teen center for a month, Councilor David Rhoads said.
Some members of city council expressed reservation about staffing the race with officers and providing the DPW's support -- worth an estimated $896. In years past, the 5K has been part of the larger Winterfest event. But this year, the only events are Winterfest and the snowman building contest.
“The justification for the expense last year was that it was part of a larger event,” Councilor Dean Girbach said.
Winterfest was taken on by Saline Main Street last year. Main Street Manager Bob Rosenberger said the event has experienced declining volunteerism and participation over the last couple years. The last two years, a lack of snow forced the cancellation of the snowman building contest, won by Saline during the inaugural event in 2011.
“We felt that the event would not be stellar and excellent. Saline Main Street and the City of Saline always put on great events,” Rosenberger said. “We're going to look at what we can do to make 2015 a great Winterfest event.”
Saline Main Street remains organizer of the Snowman Building Championship of the Free World.
Councilor Jim Roth said he'd like city council to determine a more consistent policy about spending tax dollars to support city vents.
Rhoads said he understood Roth's concerns, but said that the community benefits from a healthy and strong teen center.
“Spending money in support of these events is one of the things that makes Saline a great community,” Rhoads said.