The Cortland Downtown Partnership will no longer host three community events — Taste of Downtown, First Light and Chill-A-Bration — but those events may be picked up by the Cortland Standard, the organization announced Thursday.
The partnership’s decision was due to “financial pressure of the ongoing construction” at the Partnership-owned building at 40 Main St. and lack of staff support,according to a statement from Evan Geibel, president of the Cortland Downtown Partnership and publisher and editor of the Cortland Standard.
Geibel said the organization “has been searching for a partner to take over the events, as we believe they bring residents and visitors to Historic Downtown Cortland in a fun, enjoyable way.”
He said the Cortland Standard “has made a preliminary offer for all three events.”
“Other local organizations have been approached about taking over some or all of the events and have declined,” Geibel said.
“It’s disappointing to hear that the Downtown Business Partnership can’t continue to host those events, but I understand,” said Mayor Brian Tobin, noting the organization has no paid staff and is being run by volunteers.
“I’m further heartened that the Cortland Standard is taking the lead on this,” he said.
Tobin encouraged members of the community to come forward and help with the events.
“In a community like ours, these events are very much appreciated by many people, and hopefully people who have found enjoyment in the past by attending them” will volunteer to keep the events going, he said. “The only way that things happen is when people get involved, and we need people to continue to be engaged and involved.”
Judd Seales, owner of Bru 64 and co-owner of Paradigm Properties, said his business has worked closely with the Downtown Partnership in the past.
“We were a supporter of theirs – financially, and we allowed them to use our space for planning,” he said. “We enjoyed working with them, and we’re glad if the Cortland Standard is going to pick up the slack. We appreciate that, and we’re willing to help in anyway we can.”
“It’s a big task,” Seales said of running the three events.
Geibel encouraged local groups interested “in carrying these events forward” to talk to the Downtown Partnership.
The Taste of Downtown, typically held in July, was postponed this summer but no new date has been scheduled. First Light is a New Year’s Eve event and Chill-A-Bration occurs in February.
The two Downtown Partnership staff members both left in the past year; former director Adam McGivern resigned in December 2018, and Jane Witty, office manager and director of events, was fired in March.