Mayor: Newbo Evolve 'wouldn't have happened' under city

Published: Feb. 20, 2019 at 4:10 PM CST
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Cedar Rapids Mayor Brad Hart said the Newbo Evolve financial fallout "wouldn't have happened" if the city had planned and organized it.

Mayor Hart responded to questions around Go Cedar Rapids and the failed Newbo Evolve festival during his State of the City address Tuesday. Go Cedar Rapids lost $2.3 million in putting on the festival last summer, leaving dozens of vendors unpaid, forcing Go Cedar Rapids to cease operations and damaging the city's reputation.

Hart defended the city's decision not to use tax dollars to bail out the organization saying the city was not involved in executing the festival.

"I think the most telling thing is that not one vendor called me and expected the city to pay them," Hart said. "They were businesses and they took a business risk and I'm sorry for that."

Hart added that the way forward is to make every event in Cedar Rapids "spot on" to rebuild the city's reputation.

Cedar Rapids took over tourism promotion and planning in the absence of Go Cedar Rapids but Hart later said the plan would be to again move those functions to an outside agency, similar to how Go Cedar Rapids operated.

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