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Special Meetings this week: 3rd Street Dam, and $7,000 to pay for a band

Aug 02

Special Meetings this week: 3rd Street Dam, and $7,000 to pay for a band

This week, Media Borough Council is hosting two Special Meetings.

3rd Street Dam Design Status, August 3rd, 2011, 7:00 PM

The first meeting is Wednesday evening at 7:00 PM to discuss the 3rd Street Dam design with the engineering firm Schnabel Engineering. A group called Friends of Glen Providence Park recently formed with a goal of attempting to improve the existing design.

Various documents are posted on the borough web site, with backup copies here (all are PDF documents):

Another “Special Meeting” on Thursday: $7K for Irish Rock Band

The agenda for this meeting has not been posted to the borough web site as of August 2nd at 10:40 AM, however, the Media Borough Special Meeting Agenda August 4th, 2011 was retrieved from the Borough Manager, Jeff Smith.

The agenda contains the following legislative item of interest:


Of particular interest is the wording of the first item “… to RENT SPACE at…”, when it was disclosed last month at the working meeting that the funds were to pay for an Irish Rock Band to play at the Media Theatre this November. In addition, the recommendation of the Finance Committee was to make the funds a loan to be paid back. According to sources, Jim Cunningham was inclined to vote against releasing the funds, and so the vote was postponed last legislative meeting. He was quoted regarding 1 West State Street, “We’re not Uncle Sugar, we don’t print money in the basement.

The Irish Rock Band, Blackthorn, will be playing on August 14th at Rose Tree Park for free, a free event to the public.

Screen shot from Blackthorn web site

It as also disclosed that the four nights rented at the Media Theatre are not “free” as has been stated by proponents. Based on a question from Media, PA, News, Media Borough gave $16,000 to Media Theatre last year to pay Bob Linn Architects to produce designs for the Media Theatre in order to get grant money for restoration of the theater. The Media Theatre, negotiating with Monika Rehoric, repaid it partly in cash and partly with “in-kind” services, specifically:

  • $4,000 paid back in cash
  • $12,000 for four nights at the Media Theatre, at a cost of $3,000 per night
    • Specific dates were negotiated by Ms. Rehoric

From last month’s Working Meeting on July 7th, 2011:

Dawn Roe: We have contracted with Blackthorn to be the lead performer at a cost of .. $3,800. All of this will be considered at the next council meeting at request of Finance to consider it … prior to that, and I will ask for approval of release of $7,000 for that.

Monica Simpson: We’re paying for the events? Council’s paying for Blackthorn?

Pete Alyanakian: It was the thought that we would have events …

Monica Simpson: I know … the thought was that we would host events, but I was not under the impression that we were paying for the events.

Pete Alyanakian: Well, when we asked for money, what did you think the money was for?

Eric Stein: What kind of music … is Blackthorn?

Jim Cunningham: Irish drinking music.

Ms. Roe then went on to outline additional costs to the event such as an opening band or advertising costs. She did say she was trying to get sponsorship for the event, and that the event was intended to raise money for non-profits in Media. Later, Monica Simpson outlined her perception:

Pete Alyanakian: You don’t think that council, anticipated, you know, having four nights at the theatre without a cost associated with it?

Monica Simpson: My understanding was that … from your meeting notes, whatever, that you were going to offer the space rental-free to the non-profits to put their own thing on, to generate their own money, not that we would bear the cost of the events ourselves. So, does this negate what we already donate to the non-profits? Or is this in addition to what we donate to them every year?

Further discussion surrounded Pete Alyanakian‘s scheme to raise money for non-profits by having them sell tickets for the event, and they would keep 50% of their ticket sales. Peter Williamson then asked if the $7,000 would be returned to the borough after the event. Pete Alyanakian stated that it would not, it was an economic development expense to generate interest in the Media Theatre for alternate events.

Monika Rehoric:  “There is no cost for renting the theatre.There will be costs associated with putting the events on.”

Monica Simpson: “This was not clear at all.”

Dawn Roe summed it up:

I think the advantage to this plan is that instead of offering one group, say, we’ll take it for that night, we’ll take it for that night, this benefits every single non-profit which chooses to participate so instead of giving the Youth Center one night, the Fair Trade one night, and whoever the hell’s … taken what,  this benefits everybody through the whole thing and it costs the borough 7 grand to put on something we may or may not be able to do  … it opens up the theater to all kinds of people who wouldn’t come into town because, I being one of them, don’t like musical theater,  therefore I don’t go to the theater.

Monica Simpson then stated that she wished the events would be revenue-neutral.

So, if the funds are approved, the total cost for putting on the four nights of events will by $19,000. ($12,000 to rent the four nights, $7,000 to pay for the band and “other” costs.)

According to statements made by Dawn Roe during the meeting, it is likely that all nights will not be used (Tuesday night – election day, currently), at a loss of $3,000 per night to the borough.

Listen to a full audio transcript of the discussion surrounding the Media Economic Development funds.


  1. I have to digest everyone’s arguments here to comment on the main discussion, but I do want to point out that I highly doubt Blackthorn is playing Rose Tree Park “for free.” While the admission is free, the band is likely being paid. They are well-regarded, well-known, nationally-touring Irish group, and as you can see on the Rose Tree Park page, there are corporate sponsors for the summer festival. Are they worth over $3000 for a gig? That’s up for discussion. I don’t know what they currently get for a full concert, but they certainly aren’t a local garage band or a local community Sousa band and they probably ask for a minimum figure. I think the suggestion that they should play for free for a Media fundraiser is not realistic, and even as a semi-professional performer myself I rarely do totally free gigs (though I wish my band could get $3000 for a show!). Just my two cents.

  2. Median /

    My apologies; the wording is ambiguous. The concert is free admission, I did not mean that the band won’t be paid. I updated the article to reflect the edit. I don’t think the article implies that they shouldn’t get paid; I personally am in favor of paying artists what they’re worth.

    They actually get paid much more for their gigs, as the rate negotiated was a non-profit rate.

    Thanks for your comments.

    • Ah, okay. Thanks for clarifying and editing the post, I’m glad we’re on the same page!

  3. James /

    Media Republicans: taking Media out of the “real estate business” and into the concert promotion business.

  4. TheRyck /

    Regardless of how much the band gets paid, if I can see Blackthorn for free at Rose Tree Park, why would I pay to see them at the Media Theater? To support a worthy non-profit group? Maybe. Maybe not.

    I do not have an issue with Council using some funds to organize this event. It seems they should put more thought into selecting the entertainment.