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Holidazzle redo on hold as panel rejects city funding

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Plans to revamp the just-ended Holidazzle parade in downtown Minneapolis into a "Holidazzle District" and winter marketplace are in jeopardy after the City Council's budget committee voted against providing any city money for the project, The Journal reports.

The Minneapolis Downtown Council is asking the city for $395,000 to support the event in 2014, about 75 percent of which would come from funds already in the Convention Center budget. The other $95,000 would be pulled from the City Coordinator budget. The downtown business group said it would provide another $1.3 million in private funding.

But members of the Council's Ways and Means Budget Committee rejected the request Monday afternoon, after raising questions about whether the city should help pay for this event when it doesn't fund many other downtown events that take place every year, according to the Star Tribune.

The city has kicked in about $300,000 a year to help pay for the Holidazzle parade in previous years, according to the Star Tribune, which also notes that the item was on the committee's consent agenda, meaning it was expected to be routinely approved.

Downtown Council President and CEO Steve Cramer said the city's contribution is critical for making the winter market a reality, and without it the city could lose out on hundreds of thousands of visitors, according to the Business Journal.

Cramer said the Minneapolis Holidazzle market would be open seven days a week and into the evening. Unlike the parade, which saw visitors come and go, the marketplace would encourage visitors to spend more time downtown and shop at downtown retailers.

Cramer has said the outdoor market would have a European style similar to the Christkindlmarket in downtown Chicago, which runs from late November through about Christmas Eve and attracts more than 500,000 visitors each year.

The Holidazzle parade has been around for 21 years. The nightly parades featuring floats and costumes covered in thousands of lights would march down Nicollet Mall in the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The Downtown Council pulled the plug on the parade after last year, and since then has been working on plans for a replacement activity.

The full City Council will take up the funding request at its meeting on June 27, and could still approve it despite the opposition of the budget committee, according to the Business Journal.

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