Like a concert promoter fulfilling a rock star's backstage requests, Merced leaders have their own list of costly must-do's for hosting the Amgen Tour of California bicycle race.
Stage four of the eight-day competition will begin Feb. 18, a Wednesday, in downtown Merced, wind along highways 140 and 59 through the foothills and end several hours later in Clovis. The city recently approved a contract with the race's organizer. Monday the City Council approved closing some downtown streets for the event, which includes a community ride and a fair.
City staff estimates the event will cost between $65,000 and $80,000, not counting time spent planning and running the event.
The city's Amgen committee has been seeking donations and has commitments for between $50,000 and $65,000, city Economic Development Manager Frank Quintero said.
Amgen demands that the city avoid sponsorship from certain industries, including energy drink makers, health insurance companies and financial service firms, which he acknowledged precluded the city from tapping some frequent contributors.
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