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OUR VIEW: Gaining public input on events a necessary step for Ottawa officials

The Ottawa 2 Rivers Wine and Jazz Fest is among some Ottawa events that tally a deficit. Officials seeking public input about the city's lineup of events in a workshop at  6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 3.
The Ottawa 2 Rivers Wine and Jazz Fest is among some Ottawa events that tally a deficit. Officials seeking public input about the city's lineup of events in a workshop at 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 3.

With some events, such as the 2 Rivers Wine and Jazz Fest tallying a deficit in the past year, Ottawa city officials have given consideration to the viability and benefits of city-sponsored events.

Commissioners soon need to make a decision what they want their goal to be and what they want to accomplish in hosting events.

How much money should be spent to attract visitors to the community? Should more events be geared regionally, or for people who live in town? What should that balance be?

The city will take an important step with a workshop planned 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 3, at City Hall, inviting the public to give its input on the current lineup of events and suggest changes.

"We need input from the public on what they like, what they don't like and what works," said Mayor Dan Aussem. "There's some events that are running a pretty deep deficit, so we want to discuss strategies on how to reduce that or change."

We're happy to see citizens given a seat at the table — one they should take advantage of.

Their insight could help steer changes that may generate more interest and revenue.

Do they want to see more family-oriented events? Would they like more live entertainment? More food vendors? etc.

Not only that, but residents can tell commissioners what role they believe the city should play and how much money it should spend in hosting events.

If you have something to say about the future of city events, especially if you don't like the direction an event or two has gone, we'd encourage you to go and speak up.

Keep in mind, the city still will have to consider what is financially viable when it takes requests, but getting public input can help them determine what Ottawa is looking for.

We're glad to hear money won't be the only factor to determine the future of certain events.

"We don't necessarily have to make a profit," Aussem said. "We should be doing part of it for public enjoyment like we do with Music in the Park (at Washington Square)."

City leaders are taking the right approach by giving these events a re-evaluation and making sure they are spending tax dollars in the best places.

Having the public weigh in will only help the council shape its decision regarding events. We're glad to see they are taking a comprehensive approach.

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