Aug. 21 will be last Good Times Car Show in OCC; increased city costs blamed
Kathy Quatkemeyer, co-coordinator of the free display that attracts thousands of attendees, has revealed that the 25th annual show Sunday, Aug. 21, will be the last.
“We are now giving more to the City Police and Parks than to our charity [Canine Companions],” she told the Westside Pioneer. “And the city's not doing anything to alleviate its costs. The police suggested we go downtown, but nothing's there except the homeless.”
In keeping with past formats, the Car Show will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and park up to 425 cars of varying ages, models, customized designs and states of restoration along Colorado Avenue and its side streets between 23rd and 27th streets.
Sponsored by four area car clubs: the Colorado Cruizers, Pikes Peak Corvair Club, Rocky Mountain Mustangers and Southern Colorado Mopars, Good Times has traditionally been one of the largest car shows in the region. It's been located in Old Colorado City for all but its first three years.
The last-time news follows closely Coronado High School's public consideration of relocating its annual Homecoming Parade out of Old Colorado City this year -
Old Colorado City event losses in recent years have included:
- St. Patrick's Day Parade. Originated in Old Colorado City in the early 1980s, it used to attract up to 30,000 attendees to Old Town. But its organizers moved the annual event downtown after 2006, pursuing deeper-pocket sponsors.
- Street and park concerts. The organizer of the 2006 Jefferson Starship concert in Colorado Avenue's 2600 block ran into issues with follow-up events after City Parks heard complaints from some nearby residents and toughened its rules.
- Square-dance program. A Westside resident had served as the caller. He moved it out of Bancroft after a city rental increase in 2009.
- Old Colorado City Historical Society Founders Day. The society used to offer this event - and others in the summertime - in Bancroft Park. But after 2012, the nonprofit's volunteer leaders decided the higher rental costs and a city-required $1 million insurance policy no longer made financial sense.
- Bancroft Park fundraising event. An arts event was tentatively scheduled last fall in the park. Planned by the Old Colorado City Foundation (OCCF), it would have been part of continuing OCCF efforts since 2013 to raise money for Bancroft park improvements. There was an apparent misunderstanding of detailed city requirements, and the event was cancelled.
Also, she said, the sponsoring clubs are composing a letter to “thank everybody” and to urge people to “keep supporting Canine Companions [which provides trained dogs for the disabled]. We've given them almost $100,000 over the years.”
Car owners, who have chances to win trophies through event-day judging in several vehicle categories, have traditionally paid the bulk of the show's costs through entry fees. This year, the clubs asked entrants to kick in $5 more apiece (it had been $25), and this has not been a deterrent. But the resulting income boost will still not be enough to keep the event going, Quatkemeyer said.
A Pioneer interview with City Parks staff last fall brought out that starting in 2014 City Council made Bancroft Park's rental rate the same as for the much larger Memorial Park downtown. That amount is now $525 a day. Up to about seven years ago, it was $75.
Disagreeing with the Memorial/Bancroft equation is Julie Fabrizio, president of both the Old Colorado City Associates (OCCA) business group and the OCCF (its nonprofit-charity wing). "That's ridiculous," she said. "It's like apples and oranges. The Westside has always been a small-town community. I know the city has to make rules for all of Colorado Springs, but it doesn't have our small-town feel."
City Parks Director Karen Palus defended the ranking, saying Bancroft Park has “significant attendance,” leading to “significant impact.”
Carly Kobasiar, who handles special permits for City Parks, elaborated that despite its small size, Bancroft qualifies for the higher rental tier because it's in a centralized, urban location, with a bandshell, restroom availability and lack of parking.
Previously stated by city officials is the potential for the city to be sued for accidents or injuries at special events, so there needs to be a readiness for litigation.
The Car Show's police expense has increased over time to the current tab of $6,475. In earlier years, volunteer officers from Green Mountain Falls or El Paso County had provided Car Show security for free. But Quatkemeyer has been told by the city that the current requirement - an officer and a car at every intersection (paid at time and-a-half) - is necessary for insurance reasons.
In recent years, the city has also upped its requirements for barricades in events that close off streets. Years ago, event organizers could put out their own barricades. Now they must be of an approved type and placed a certain way at each closure point by people who have been certified to do so. The Car Show's cost for barricades this year is $900, although Quatkemeyer said the clubs have been pleased with how the barricade company (Midwest) has looked for ways to save them money.
Westside Pioneer article