“In other communities, you’re seeing their events are getting canceled or eliminated,” said Kim Scarlata of the city Parks and Community Services Department. “I think we’re pretty fortunate here that we’ve really tried to figure out how we can still deliver those services and reduce our budget. We’ve worked really hard to do that.”
As part of the Civic Center Plaza entertainment series, the city will host free concerts and movie nights, in addition to the popular Taste of Tracy wine and food event, on Friday nights through Aug. 19 in the tree-bounded greensward alongside City Hall, just east of downtown Tracy.
The city is also in the midst of planning a series of “block parties” on Saturday nights with the Tracy City Center Association and Chamber of Commerce, Scarlata said.
Dale Cose and Barbara Fitzpatrick, who own a swath of land at the corner of Sixth Street and Central Avenue, have invited the city to use it for a string of summer and fall events that would include free music, food and beer and wine for sale, Scarlata said.
She said the summer entertainment series and block parties are the city’s way “to give people an opportunity to have a fun family event that they can go to after work on a Friday after a long day of work.
It’s also an effort to attract more people downtown in the hopes that visitors will patronize area businesses, bars and restaurants.
But while most of the events are free to attend, they aren’t free to host.
Scarlata said the city budgeted $22,000 for the summer entertainment series out of the community events fund, which is paid for by a general fund that’s running a $1.4 million deficit this year.
Still, Scarlata said, even though there’s a cost involved, it’s important for the city to put on such events as long as possible.
“I think it gives people the chance to come together as a community.”
She also said the city did everything it could to cut costs, pooling its resources and combining the Taste of Tracy, Movies on the Plaza and Music in the Park events of years past into one summer-long series.
“It saved quite a bit of money,” she said.
The series continues tonight, June 17, when Tracy native Megan Slankard returns with her band. The show kicks off at 7 p.m., and people are invited to take blankets, lawn chairs and a picnic dinner.
At a glance
• June 17: Concert with Megan Slankard
• June 24: Taste of Tracy and concert with Take 2
• July 8: Concert with Trade Winds Dance
• July 15: Movie, “The Karate Kid”
• July 22: Taste of Tracy and concert with Dean Moore
• July 29: Concert with Dave Crimmen
• Aug. 5: Movie, “Toy Story 3”
• Aug. 12: Taste of Tracy and concert with Buck Ford
• Aug. 19: Concert with the Scott Martin Latin Soul Band