Admirable gesture raises council question

by Jim Boyle
The Elk River Area Arts Alliance has made a conscious decision to support downtown restaurants and businesses at this year’s ArtSoup community arts festival.

Food at the June 18 event will be limited to local fare, and these vendors have had booth fees waived and told they wouldn’t have to worry about out-of-town competition.

Elk River Mayor John Dietz called giving local food merchants a break in difficult economic times admirable, but others had reservations contributing to the cause knowing this was how things were being handled.

“We have our own budget woes,” City Council Member Paul Motin said.

Dave Raymond, the chair of the Elk River Area Arts Alliance Board of Directors, understood Motin’s point and added. “It’s a value judgment on how we support Elk River.”

Council Member Nick Zerwas asked if the request for $2,000 in funds would be aptly made before the Elk River Economic Development Authority.

The matter will be brought to the EDA on May 13, and the council will discuss it again that night after the authority has taken a position.

Asked if May 13 would be too late for City Council and/or EDA action, John Stander, the executive director of the Elk River Area Arts Alliance, said “it depends on how you act.”

Fred McCoy, of McCoy’s Pub, helped line up the food vendors and there was an effort to make sure that various appetites will be accounted from the line-up.

The food vendors are all located in downtown Elk River. In previous years, there have been out-of-town vendors and several downtown businesses have been closed during ArtSoup.

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