The latest casualty of Hartford’s massive budget crisis is “Movies After Dark,” a program offering free movies every Friday night in the summer at one of eight parks across Hartford.
The program was part the Marketing, Events and Cultural Affairs Division and the city saved $270,000 by eliminating MECA, including eliminating two positions and the “Movies After Dark” program, which consumed $19,000 of the budget.
Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin said it was a difficult decision to cut MECA, but his administration is looking to get Hartford on track so the city can grow and be sustainable in the years to come.
“There were some really painful drastic cuts in this budget. The important thing is we are working hard to try to find other sources of support. We are working with the philanthropic community, with the arts community in general,” Bronin said.
Community members who frequent the parks were disappointed with the decision.
“It is too bad that they had to cut it. That is my thought. I can understand that the state is hemorrhaging money everywhere, so it is a little bit of a problem,” Leo Lloyd, of West Hartford, said.
“I know they are necessary. I wish less money had been spent on the baseball stadium given everything that has happened with it. It is a bit of a disaster. On behalf of those that did go to the movies, I am sorry that they are losing that benefit,” Kendall Baker said.
Below is a breakdown of the “Movies After Dark” budget:
- Outdoor Screen and Video: $4,655
- Flyers/Brochures/Designs: $3,750
- Media Production: $1,350
- Consulting and public relations services: $7,500
- Other Miscellaneous: $1,745
- Expenditures Total: $19,000