Groups vie for event dates at Prescott's courthouse plaza

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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

Demand for dates to hold single-day events at Prescott's historic courthouse plaza continues to exceed supply, causing frustration for nonprofit groups in their scramble to get a weekend slot.

Organization representatives lined up outside the offices of the Prescott Downtown Partnership hours before it opened on the first business day in January in order to snag a date for their event, The Daily Courier reported Tuesday.

The partnership distributes the dates on a first-come, first-served basis, though eight multi-day events were grandfathered in to their weekend dates. In recent years, officials have tightened restrictions, like reducing the availability of dates, aiming to protect the grass around the Yavapai County Courthouse from overuse.

"It used to be we had all kinds of dates and no restrictions about using half the plaza or the full plaza or what side we had to be on," said Hanne Stone, coordinator of the Empty Bowls fundraiser. "I know it's to protect the grass, but they don't ask if we will be on the grass."

Many of the groups seek a spring date with typically favorable weather to host fundraising events, which can bring thousands of people to downtown Prescott.

Kendall Jasper, the director of the partnership, said he welcomes new ideas for a way to distribute the dates.

"I would like to find a way; I would like everybody to be happy," Jasper said. "It's a limited supply of dates."

Organizations unhappy with its given date to use the plaza can appeal to the county facilities department.

"It's not a great system; it's hard on the people," Jasper said. "I'm up for suggestions on how to make that better. Having events downtown is important; it's a magnet."

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