Council green lights $100K for 2013 Rose float

Following last year’s controversy over design, a rocky fundraising start and the disbanding of the community group that had organized Glendale’s Tournament of Roses Parade float for decades, the city is looking to start fresh for 2013.

That means more of a reliance on corporations to help pay for the float and choose the design.

The Glendale City Council this week approved setting aside $100,000 to pay for the float in the hopes that corporate sponsors and community members will donate enough money to reimburse the city.

Already, Glendale Adventist Medical Center has announced plans to donate $35,000 to the 2013 float.

“We hope by supporting the float, we can encourage others to do the same,” Mari Abrams, the hospital’s director of marketing and communications, said in announcing the donation at a City Council meeting this week.

Due to deep budget cuts last year, city officials threatened to pull funding for the float if the community didn’t donate $50,000. But the Glendale Rose Float Assn., which for years had raised money to pay for float construction after picking the design, said it was difficult to muster up donations during the rough economy.

Originally, the 2012 float cost $130,000, but the designer, Phoenix Decorating Company of Pasadena, cut that down to $89,000 in light of Glendale’s tough economic situation.

And when the City Council approved a circus elephant design picked by the association, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals protested outside of City Hall. The political blow back that ensued prompted members of the association to disband.

The 2012 float was saved by community donations, and had nearly $8,000 left over. Americana at Brand developer Rick Caruso kicked off the fundraising drive in July with a $25,000 challenge grant. Before that, the float had received just $596 in donations.

With Glendale Adventist’s pledge and leftover donations for the 2012 float, the city is already about halfway to its fundraising goal for 2013.

Community Services & Parks Director Jess Duran said a new committee consisting of corporate sponsors and city officials will organize the fundraising drive and select a design to recommend to the council. Tournament of Roses rules allow two names on city float — the name of the city and one other name, which could be a co-sponsor, according to a city report.

Councilman Frank Quintero urged the public and business leaders to contribute to the float.

“Either the residents of this city and the business community in this city and the nonprofits in this city want a float, or they don’t,” Quintero said.

The city needs to submit a float entry by March and submit a design by May.

While 2013 planning is underway, city officials are already looking toward 2014, which would mark Glendale’s 100th anniversary of being in the parade.

“We have notions of doing something more spectacular,” Duran said. “We need to start thinking about that.”

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