Jim Creighton, seen here on stage at Tidemark’s 30th anniversary celebration – for which he organized the lineup – has won the contract with the city to keep managing the programming at Spirit Square for up to five more years. Mirror File Photo

Jim Creighton gets extension to keep running Spirit Square

‘We need to expand it and make it better, and I think Jim’s the guy to be able to do that’

Anyone who has had anything to do with Spirit Square over the years knows the man who simply goes by “Jim.”

And those who haven’t will likely get their chance, because Jim Creighton has officially received the bid to continue operating the venue for another year. Up to five years, in fact.

At its last public meeting, council voted to approve staff’s recommendation to award the contract for event planning and management services of Spirit Square to Jim Creighton Industries for $73,835 per year for up to five years.

“I just can’t speak highly enough about what Mr. Creighton has been doing down there,” said Coun. Michele Babchuk in putting her support behind the motion. “This summer the programming was just phenomenal and I’m looking forward to getting into financial planning so that we might be able to extend that or make it grow next summer.”

Coun. Colleen Evans agreed.

“The feedback we’ve had from the performing groups and users of Spirit Square have been highly complimentary of how helpful he is and his ability to make things work in that space,” Evans said. “I just want to commend him on the great job that he does.”

Coun. Charlie Cornfield agreed, as well.

Cornfield, in fact, said at the All-Candidates Forum on Arts, Culture and Heritage during the municipal election campaign that the status quo wasn’t good enough for Spirit Square going forward. “We need to expand it and make it better,” he said in backing the motion, “and I think Jim’s the guy to be able to do that.”

Mayor Andy Adams echoed the sentiment around the council chambers, as well, saying the city is “extremely fortunate” to have Creighton at the helm of the programming at Spirit Square.

“It’s not just the summer, either,” Adams said. “He’s down there setting up the fireplace at the Big Truck Parade at Christmas time and we just had the CRADACL Pumpkin event down there … I think I know which way this vote is going to go.”

Council was unanimous in their decision.

Normally, the city wouldn’t need to open a Request For Proposal (RFP) for a contract worth less than $100,000, but because the contract could be extended annually for up to five years, making it potentially worth $369,175, excluding annual increases, it required an RFP be issued and awarded with the approval of council.

Creighton beat out Sparks Event Marketing for the contract, whose bid came in just $165 over Creighton’s, which Cornfield said is “something I don’t think I’ve ever seen in all my years on council.”