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Glendale Glitters 2018: Glendale to save $140,000 by cutting resources

Posted at 6:07 PM, Jun 29, 2018

It is a little slice of Christmas year-round for Sara and Bob Yarrow. They own Spinning Wheel Antiques and Gifts in downtown Glendale. 

"We did so well last Glitters," said Sara. Sara even added a Christmas shop in one corner of the store. The customers loved it. It turns out the most wonderful time of the year is also their most profitable time.

"What we sold at Glitters was carrying us through the summer," said Sara.

So when business owners found out the city is scaling back the festival, it was like the someone stole Christmas. "We just kept saying, are you kidding? How can that be?" asked Sara.

"It just defies logic," said Bob, her husband and business partner.

Kevin Phelps, Glendale's City Manager, said the city started looking at how it's investing in downtown and started asking tough questions. "Are we making a difference on building and having a healthy downtown?" asked Phelps.

He says the short answer, at this point, not really. Right now the city is investing about $1.2 million a year into a six-block radius downtown. The return for the year is only $300,000 through sales and property tax. Phelps points out the city isn't putting the same amount of resources in areas like Westgate and Arrowhead Towne Center.

By cutting out the three-weekend festivals that revolve around Glendale Glitters, the city says it will save about $140,000. Part of the money will be used to keep the Christmas event competitive with similar events and neighborhoods that also put on impressive displays. The city plans to spend part of the money on adding 400,000 more lights.

"I've never indicated to our downtown merchants a desire to lessen the amount of investment we're making in downtown," said Phelps. "But what I have said is, we've got to be more strategic on how we invest that money in downtown."

The lights will still be on, in fact, there will now be 2-million Christmas lights, but businesses are still worried still things won't be the same.

"I mean it will be devastating to our business but that's really not my biggest concern," said Bob Yarrow. "It's just disheartening to Glendale."

Some downtown businesses have started a petition urging the city council to re-direct city officials to keep the festival as-is.