SECA Commission Makes 2021 Recommendations

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Last night, the Special Events Cultural Amenities Commission (SECA) met to make allocation recommendations for the 2021 grant year. With more than $1.8 million of requests and only $879,000 to work with, most organizations received less than what they asked for. SECA receives its allocation money as a portion of the Food and Beverage Tax.

SECA Chairman Melvin Kim said those numbers are more or less typical for SECA’s allocation cycle.

“In the six years I’ve served, I don’t recall it ever going above a million dollars (of funding),” he said.

Notable Recipients

The largest recipient was The Last Fling at $157,546, followed by two new events coming to the city. The Naperville Salute was allocated $128,820 and is scheduled for July 3-4, 2021, and Naper Pride was allocated $115,080 and is scheduled for September 2021.

The Salute and Naper Pride were both scheduled to premiere in 2020, but had to be postponed due to COVID-19 concerns. Though their 2020 allocation money went unused, that didn’t affect 2021’s grant budget.

“All of the events that unfortunately were canceled this year, don’t actually affect anything until one whole year following,” explained Kim. “So it skips 2021 and we’ll find out how much it is in 2022.”

Theme Year

2020 was the first year that SECA instituted a theme, Come Together. Because so many events were canceled, ironically due to a pandemic forcing people apart, Kim said they’re planning the same theme for 2021. However, he said he’d like to see more focus on the theme from applicants if they’re going to continue with that idea.

“I think when we originally came up with the idea of a theme, we wanted to try it for two years to see what happened,” he said. “Unfortunately it hasn’t really caught on as we planned it, so we definitely will be assessing that approach for future funding.”

Public Art

Also of note, the Century Walk received none of its requested funding, though $25,000 was allocated to a Request for Proposal for a Public Art Consultant, who will work with organizations like Century Walk to bring public art to Naperville.

Of the 56 applications submitted, 45 will receive funding in 2021. The recommendations now go to city council for final approval, likely sometime in February.

NCTV17 is partially funded by a grant from the SECA Foundation.

Naperville News 17’s Casey Krajewski reports.