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Paramount team will likely manage RiverEdge Park

Updated: September 27, 2012 11:19AM

AURORA — City officials want the new RiverEdge Park in downtown Aurora to be managed by the folks who run the Paramount Theatre.

Under a proposed 18-month deal, the Aurora Civic Center Authority would be in charge of the programming and operations of the park. The city will pay ACCA $250,000 toward programming at the park and reimburse for the cost of maintenance, which officials estimate will cost about $350,000.

Aldermen will vote on the proposed management deal at the City Council meeting Tuesday night.

Under the agreement, the city would receive 80 percent of park revenue and ACCA would receive 20 percent until the city’s $250,000 financial contribution is repaid. Following that, 60 percent of park proceeds would be paid to the city and 40 percent to ACCA until the cost of maintenance was repaid. All remaining proceeds would go to ACCA, according to City Planning Director Stephane Phifer, but the contract requires those proceeds be spent on programming and other park needs.

“The goal is to continue to grow the season year after year to get the venue started,” Phifer said.

In its first season open next year, city staff projects the RiverEdge Park will break about even. They estimate the park will cost $2.53 million to operate in 2013 and the park will make $2.57 million.

Tim Rater, ACCA executive director, said the agreement will mean the Paramount and RiverEdge Park won’t be competing for shows and sponsorship dollars.

“We also feel like we serve the same goal. We want to bring people (to) downtown Aurora,” Rater said. “We’ve been very successful with this last year and we want to keep doing that with RiverEdge Park.”

The park will open with Blues on the Fox in June 2013. Rater said they aim for the park’s first season lineup to be diverse.

“Shock and awe is what our theme around the office is,” Rater said of the first big concert at the park. “We’re looking for big acts. We know that the first season has got to be great.”

Mayor Tom Weisner said ACCA’s management of the park will ensure smaller community acts are able to use it, too.

“The idea behind the park is not all national or international name groups,” Weisner said. “We want to be able to have the Fox Valley Orchestra, the American Legion Band, the West High jazz band, all of those things there.”

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