When the city delivered an economic relief package to businesses and residents in Seaside, two organizations slipped through the cracks.
The City Council made a dent in that deficit last week, unanimously approving $10,000 to the Seaside Chamber of Commerce and the Seaside Downtown Development Association.
The chamber will receive $6,000 and the downtown development association $4,000.
A summer of cancellations hit the Seaside Chamber of Commerce and the Seaside Downtown Development Association “particularly hard,” City Manager Mark Winstanley said.
Seaside Beach Volleyball, Hood to Coast, Miss Oregon and the Miss Oregon Teen competitions have all been canceled, depriving both nonprofit business associations of operating revenue.
The beach volleyball tournament is the largest event for the chamber, which draws around 50,000 visitors to Seaside. With the event cancellations Brian Owen, the CEO of the chamber, projected the chamber will lose 82% of its revenue for the year.
The city forgave room tax for the first quarter of the calendar year for lodging operators, delivered $250,000 in grants to local businesses and provided credits on water bills of $50 to residents.
The chamber and the downtown development association are “having just as many if not more financial struggles as all of the businesses and people of this community,” Winstanley said. “It would be terribly difficult if either one of these organizations run into financial conditions that they could no longer do the things we depend on them to do.”
The city contributes to the chamber and downtown development association by designating $65,000 of the city’s business license money available to them. Funds are split 60% to the chamber and 40% to the association.
Both groups were eligible for the city’s emergency relief grants but deliberately chose not to apply to free up funds for local small businesses, director of tourism marketing Joshua Heineman said.
Owen said the city funds will help the chamber through the first section of reopening and as businesses start to regain revenue.
He acknowledged the possibility later in the year on additional funding.
“We really need to keep these organizations moving forward,” he said. “This is going to be help. We aren’t going to be able to truly make us whole here, but we will be able to keep a few key individuals working. That’s what’s going to help as we come out of the first quarter of 2021 and we start to ramp up back to having events and activities in the community.”