The band the House Rockers kicked off the summer concert season. It is the fourth year they've been doing this and this time they've taken a creative approach to keep it going. They are selling reserved seats at each of the concerts. They have to do it in these tough economic times. There are 23 concerts through early October.
Not only is this entertaining, and brings people together in the spirit of community, it's also a boon to downtown businesses. A city survey says concert goers spent $1.6 million last year. The season tickets, if you will, to offset the costs of putting this on.
"We're taking a section of the square and if anyone is interested, it is $250 for the season. There's 23 concerts so it is less than $11 a concert, so we wanted to make it affordable," said Chris Beth, the director of the parks and recreation department.
"Otherwise the alternative is we would have to do less concerts or do away with them altogether. Especially with redevelopment money going away potentially, that's part of what funds this program," said City Councilman Ian Bain.
"It's one of the greatest things to ever happen to this town, these concerts, and the thought of having them discontinued would be heartbreaking," said Valerie Matonis, a season ticket buyer.
"We've done to these every year since they've started them and it's a lot of fun," said Jeff Nuckles, a season ticket buyer.
There are only 70 seats this time. They have room for 200. If they sold all of them, that would bring the city $50,000 to fund the event. It is also emphasized this event is free.