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Wanna Rent City Hall Plaza?

The Boston City Council approved a plan to raise funds by renting the plaza: The money would go to either the general fund or a fund for the Arts, City and Tourism.

Do you need a big space for an outdoor event? The Boston City Council thinks it may have the place for you.

There's currently no formal structure for businesses to rent . On Wednesday, the Boston City Council approved an amendment to the City's charter to allow plaza rental for a fee. The measure would create a sliding fee scale to rent the plaza for events.

District 6 City Councilor Matt O'Malley, chair of Government Operations Committee, said the fee structure would start with a $25 application. He said smaller events that are a day or two could be charged $200 per hour. 

"Presume it's eight hours; that's $3,200 for two days," said O'Malley.

Larger events that stay on the plaza longer, like the circus or the Peter Pan production, would negotiate a fee with the City's Arts, Tourism, and Special Events department.

"This does three good things: it creates a formal fee structure; will allow for more and different festivals to take place on City Hall Plaza; and all funds go back to City—either into the general fund for cops, teachers, and property tax relief—that would be from smaller events," said O'Malley. "The larger scale event (fees) will go into the larger revolving fund for Arts, Tourism and Special events. When we will rent out City Hall Plaza for a one- or two-day event that goes to City coffers."

Most councilors agreed the new system, proposed by the Menino administration, would create a more transparent process and bring more businesses to rent City Hall Plaza for events.

District 4 City Councilor Charles Yancey was the lone councilor to vote against the amendment. He questioned why all the funds don't go directly into the general fund, as opposed to a revolving fund.  

O'Malley said he did not want to speak for the Menino administration, but said there are safeguards in place to create a sustainable business model.

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