The first year of the Morris Downtown Development Partnership’s Run 4 Morris was such a success in promoting Morris that two more runs will be added this year.
MDDP Executive Director Julie Applegate came before the city council Monday to thank the city for its support of the new program and to ask for its support again. Cheryl and Tom Tesdal, chairpeople for the Liberty 5K, were also present at the meeting.
The city donated $5,000 toward the promotion previously. The council did not vote Monday on making this donation again.
“The mission of Run 4 Morris is to promote the city as a running destination,” said Applegate. Run 4 Morris is a campaign for the city’s biggest runs: Liberty 5K Run/Walk, Running For Life Ovarian Cancer Awareness 5K, Morris Hospital 5K Run during the Grundy County Corn Festival, and the Morris Police Department’s Run the Beat 5K.
All the races teamed up to encourage runners to participate in all the runs. The MDDP and the Grundy County Farm Bureau host the Liberty 5K Run and presented the idea to the other runs last year.
Anyone who participated in all four of the runs received a Run 4 Morris sweatshirt and were entered into a raffle for prizes, including Grundy County Chamber of Commerce & Industry gift certificates, which helps ensure people return to Morris and Grundy County to spend money, said Applegate.
All of the runs saw an increase in participation, which can be attributed to the to the extra incentives of the promotion, she said. All reported more than 50 percent of participants were from outside of Morris. They really pushed advertisement outside of the area, she said.
“The Liberty 5K saw an 86-percent increase in participation, and it was 100 degrees that day,” said Applegate.
More than 100 people ran in all four races; organizers were only expecting about 40. She said the sweatshirts were a big draw.
This year, the original four races are participating, as are an additional two — the Christian Youth Center’s run and the White Oak Tech Trot on May 11.
To qualify for the sweatshirt this year, participants will only have to run in four of the six, but one of the races has to be the Liberty 5K.
In other business, the council approved ordinances to abate certain taxes in connection with the issuance of the general obligation waterworks and sewerage bonds used as an alternate revenue source in 2006 and 2012 to refinance the 2006 bonds. The bonds were issued to pay for a portion of the East Side Sewage Treatment Plant.
With the abatement, there is no cost for the bonds on people’s property tax bills, said Mayor Richard Kopczick. The city has the money put aside to pay the bonds without having to use property tax money.