Thursday, December 10, 2009

Festival of Cranes attendance down

By John Larson

SOCORRO - Attendance at the Festival of the Cranes was down from last year, according to a report to the Socorro City Council from Robyn Harrison.
“All in all it was a success. It ran very smoothly,” Harrison said. “I wanted to formally thank the city for supporting the event again this year. Deborah Dean is so easy to work with and she made partnering with the city such a no-brainer.”
“By all accounts most people were very pleased with the way things went; the workshop, tours, and exhibiters,” Harrison said.
She said there was a 16 percent decrease in attendance.
“The day trippers accounted for most of the decrease, like those from Albuquerque, because there was only a four percent decrease in hotel rooms,” Harrison said. “Overnighters accounted for 567 hotel room nights.”
After the meeting Harrison told the Mountain Mail that the total attendance over the six days was probably “somewhere around 2,100.”
“We did have a lot of no-shows, but actually it was OK because for once we came out even,” Harrison said.
“We tried a couple of different things this year that were experiments, like moving the main exhibit tent to the plaza,” she said. “Another was the photographers’ bus. A diesel bus is not a good blind, and it was a dismal failure.”
“We learned from our mistakes,” she said.
She said she heard frequent comments on how friendly everyone was.
“In the surveys we got back, people were saying all there questions at the information booth were answered, and they were impressed at the friendliness of the volunteers,” Harrison said.
Next year the Festival of the Cranes will be November 16-21.
“The next one we’re aiming for perfection,” Harrison said.
In other business:
• The council approved both a joint resolution and Memorandum of Understanding with the county and Magdalena on the creation and operation of the 911 central dispatch center to be located at the Socorro Police Department. The joint resolution was to set up a committee comprised of the three entities to find the best solution on how to run the center. The MOU was to ensure that each entity would assume equal responsibilities for mapping and addressing. Mayor Dr. Ravi Bhasker commended the E911 work the county assessor has accomplished, but that the three entities who will benefit from the dispatch center must continue the addressing and mapping.
• The council approved an MOU with Socorro Consolidated Schools on the expenditure of not more that $8,000 for renovation and improvements on the all weather track at the high school.
• Salls Brothers Con-struction was awarded the winning bid for repaving and improving California Street. The company’s bid of $651,172 was the lowest of three bids. The funding is provided by the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, specifically for improvements to California St. The project is slated to start in April, 2010, and will take about four months to complete.
• The council voted to transfer $100,000 from the city’s general fund to allow for engineering of the arsenic treatment plant to continue. Bhasker said the total cost of the arsenic treatment plant would be about $4.1 million. He said the city will be seeking grants to pay for it, but has not ruled out loan applications. “This is a mandate form the federal government, and we don’t have a choice,” Bhasker said. “People have been drinking the same water for a millennium, but that’s what the EPA wants.”

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