Concerts in the Park Builds Community
In August, 2017 Tigard held its first Concert in the Park, an event that brought more than 1,200 people to Cook Park for a summer evening of outdoor family fun featuring ‘80s music by Radical Revolution.
Music Has a Way of Connecting People
“Concerts like this really build a sense of community, there’s no question about that,” says Becky Stroebel-Johnson, a Tigard resident and talent agency owner. “Music has a way of connecting people from all ages and walks of life, plus, in a beautiful open setting like Cook Park everyone has a chance to see people that they know.”
People’s reactions to the event were overwhelmingly positive, with dozens of comments and videos posted on various social media sites. But the future of more events like concerts in the park is unknown.
“We’ve made tremendous strides in the first two years of the recreation program,” says Wayne Gross, chair of Tigard’s Parks & Recreation Advisory Board. “So many people have benefited in some form or another from the programs produced by the city. I think that’s pretty remarkable given that we only had two full-time staff and a few part-time people.”
With the departure of one of the staff, the recreation program is now down to one full time person, Recreation Coordinator Anthony Markey.
“The city’s events and recreation programs have been successful, but these free events for the public come at a cost for the city,” says Markey. “There’s staff time to organize them, fees for performers or movies, equipment rentals, and the logistics of setting up, tearing down, and cleaning up the area afterwards.”
While Markey and the other employee spent much of their time last year trying to find event sponsors, it was difficult for the fledgling program. And this coming summer, with only one full time person, it may prove even more difficult.
“On one hand, we’ve obviously got a lot of demand for community activities and great momentum going into 2018. On the other hand, last year we had barely enough staff and funding to make it happen. This year we’ll have even less,” says Markey. “I’d love for our community to have a least one concert this summer, but we’ll have to see.”