The Downtown Management District (DMD) in partnership with the City of El Paso’s (COEP) One Stop Shop, held a Special Event Orientation this morning (Thursday, April 7, 2016) to educate public event organizers about special event permitting processes. The orientation focused on providing updated information on the permitting process for various types of events held in downtown El Paso.
Downtown El Paso outdoor public events increased by 9 events in 2015 for a total of 29 events permitted by the DMD. That translated to 197,000 people who came downtown for events last year.
Since 2012, through an inter-local agreement with the City of El Paso, the DMD has administered the permitting process for special events in Downtown El Paso. In 2013 the DMD received the International Downtown Association’s (IDA) Pinnacle Award in the Downtown Leadership Category for streamlining the permitting process, and “setting the standard for best practice in our industry,” according to IDA President and CEO, David Downey.
In an effort to continue to improve the process the DMD strengthened the online event permitting application found on downtownelpaso.com, the official DMD website.
Frank Hernandez, Operations Manager for the DMD told us more about the improvements to the online application, “We removed requests we felt were repetitive, added drop down windows, calendars and links to the required documents to provide the event organizer with the needed tools for a much quicker and efficient process.”
Hernandez, further told us, “We have taken a very tedious process and streamlined it so that an event organizer who has done their homework and prepared their documents can submit a complete application in about twenty minutes! This in conjunction with the 30 day limit prior to their event is unthinkable!”
“Time” was a reoccurring theme in the orientation, as explained to us by Valerie Herrera, Planner for the City of El Paso’s, One Stop Shop, “We suggest submitting your application in a timely manner. By timely manner, we don’t mean waiting until that 30 day deadline prior to your event,” adding, “It requires time to reach all of the departments involved.” Herrera, emphasized taking several factors into account, such as revision of site-plans, feedback from departments, and notification from affected persons on the event footprint. The official name for this document is the Notice of Proposed Closure.
Joe Rodriguez, the Special Programs Manager for the COEP, Parks and Recreation department told us, “The [Parks and Recreation Department] manages over a thousand events per year, but downtown is very special, and as you know we don’t have a lot of greenspace in it. We make sure we’re always taking care of those [downtown] parks.”
Hernandez, gives credit to the optimistic event organizers for being a part of the growth of downtown, “I truly believe most of our event organizers care about the success of downtown. There are several reoccurring events in downtown and even with construction, they don’t want to go anywhere else.”