Jefferson City residents may have more opportunities to visit Thursday Night Live this year, as officials hope to expand the event to three added fall nights.
At the Cole County Commission meeting Tuesday, Stephanie Bell, president of Downtown Jefferson City, presented a plan to expand the event and take advantage of Mizzou games in the fall to increase foot traffic in Jefferson City. Bell's presentation was part of a request for $10,000 to assist with "hard costs" associated with putting on Thursday Night Live. The commission approved the $10,000 request, though the money had already been budgeted.
"We see ourselves as an economic partner with the county," Bell said.
Bell said additional funding is needed to make the events bigger and better as they continue to attract thousands to the downtown area.
"There's a lot of room to expand," Bell said. "It serves as a point of community pride."
Bell said the association hopes the additional three dates for Thursday Night Live will bring in even more people to the area because they are coordinated to match up with big Mizzou games, when fans from all over the country will come to Mid-Missouri. The tentative additional fall dates for Thursday Night Live are Sept. 11, Oct. 2 and Oct. 9.
The commission approved the expenditure by a 2-1 vote, with Eastern District Commissioner Jeff Hoelscher casting the sole opposing vote.
"We have to try new things to grow," said Western District Commissioner Kris Scheperle.
In other business, the commission also approved a $2,500 contribution to the Jefferson City Convention and Visitor's Bureau to help cover costs of a brand new event to the area, the Hot Bike Power Tour.
Chris Wilson, of the CVB, said the new event is planned for Aug. 17 and is expected to bring 500 to 800 people to the area. He said the cost to host the event will be $5,000, of which the CVB has already raised $2,500. Wilson asked if the county would consider being a sponsor and assist with the remaining costs, which was approved 2-1. Hoelscher cast the only opposing vote.
Wilson also said the CVB has attracted the Hot Rod Power Tour, which is planned for June 2015. Wilson said the cost to host that event will be about $20,000.