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Parking problems plague Concerts in the Park

Summer series draws huge crowds and too many cars

Posted: December 8, 2008 8:55 p.m.
Updated: December 9, 2008 4:55 a.m.

The first Concerts in the Park of the summer series featured the Santa Clarita Symphony July 7, 2008.

It's one of the most heavily-attended city-sponsored events, attracting an estimated 90,000 guests every year.

But there's just one problem.

Finding a parking spot for the summer Concerts in the Park series has become a challenge for concert-goers.

"It's one of those burdens of success," said Phil Lantis, arts and events administrator for the city.

When the Central Park parking lots fill up, live music fans line the streets, parking their cars and hauling coolers, lawn chairs and themselves along Bouquet Canyon Road and into the grassy Saugus park for the free concert.

"It's just the main issue we're facing into the future," he said.

To some, however, parking along the street and walking to the park adds to the "festival environment," Lantis said.

City officials considered a shuttle service that circulates from Central Park to an off-site parking location, but the economic slowdown put a damper on that option, Lantis said.

"We don't have the budgets to do that now," he said.

Regardless, Lantis said city officials are beginning to explore options now to determine a solution before the summer series kicks off in July.

"At this point, I can't tell you what (the solution is) going to be," he said.

Concerts in the Park operates on a $110,000 budget, which includes marketing efforts, performer fees and logistical costs.

The amount is offset by a projected income from sponsorship of $30,000.

The lack of parking, which came before the Parks, Recreation and Community Services Commission for discussion on Thursday, became more significant in the last five years when event organizers moved the concert series exclusively to Central Park, Lantis said.

Previously, the event was held at numerous city parks until crowds became too large for the park space.
Nevertheless, Concerts in the Park continues to draw a following.

"It does serve that community purpose and it has for a long time," Lantis said.


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