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Bride in limbo after Val Vista Lakes HOA votes to cancel events

Bride in limbo after Val Vista Lakes HOA votes to cancel events

GILBERT, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) – A bride-to-be is scrambling to re-plan her wedding after she was notified her venue is no longer hosting events starting at the beginning of next year.

“Yesterday, I got a phone call from the general manager of Val Vista Lakes telling me they were canceling all events after January 1st, 2023, and they said it was because of legal reasons,” said Amy Greco. “It’s not actually the HOA company. It’s actually the HOA board members that are voting against having the events there. The only thing that I could think of is that they want to host events there themselves and maybe because Val Vista Lakes is such a popular venue, they’re not able to do so. Which is fine, but I feel they should honor my contract.”

Greco said she wanted the venue so badly that she booked her reservation in August 2021 for her wedding in March 2023.

“Since I moved here in 2006, I wanted to get married there mainly because of the lake and the views there. Because of the docks, it reminded me of my hometown in Long Island,” Greco said. “It was a must for me. That was the first thing that I booked, and then I kind of built the wedding around that.”

Val Vista Lakes said in an email to Greco that she would be returned her $1,000 deposit. However, Greco said she doesn’t know what will happen to her vendors.

“It’s kind of like build your own wedding. So it’s up to me to pick all of my vendors and book them and put it all together,” Greco explained. “I have everything booked. I have my caterers booked, I have the bartender, invitations are sent out, there’s a hotel room block already booked, RSVPs are already coming in. If I were to have to go somewhere else, I don’t know that I can bring my vendors with me, I don’t know if they can refund me the deposits. I don’t know what’s within my budget anymore. It’s all kind of ruined.”

Greco said she wanted Val Vista Lakes as her wedding venue before meeting her future husband. She’s hoping there’s still a way to make it happen.

“The general manager from Val Vista Lakes, or the HOA company, had called me and said that there is a loophole and if I find any resident in Val Vista Lakes that will sponsor me for my event, I’m still able to have it,” Greco said. “But I don’t know anyone that lives in Val Vista Lakes because I’m all the way here in Phoenix.”

Arizona’s Family reached out to the vice president of Val Vista Lakes, but we have not gotten a response.

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Council votes to move forward with quest for elite horse event

Council votes to move forward with quest for elite horse event

Fort Worth, a city with a historic reputation for horses and equestrian pursuits, is on a quest to secure one of the world’s leading equestrian events.

The City Council on March 29 authorized execution of an agreement with the Fort Worth Convention and Visitors Bureau (doing business as Visit Fort Worth) and the Split Rock Jumping Tour, LLC (SRJ) to pursue hosting the 2026 Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) World Cup Finals for Jumping and Dressage at Dickies Arena.

The official announcement of the host site won’t be made until June 1, said an optimistic Fort Worth Sports Commission Executive Director Jason Sands. With the exception of one year, the event has been hosted by a city in the United States or Europe every year since it began in 1979. It will also be outside those nations in 2024 when it goes to Saudi Arabia.

The U.S. last hosted in 2017 in Omaha, Nebraska, which is also hosting in 2023. Las Vegas was a recent host with one of the highest total attendances for the event, drawing 86,000 in 2007.

Fort Worth was encouraged by the FEI to make a bid to host following the success of the FEI World Cup Qualifier at Will Rogers Memorial Center in December.

“Booking this prestigious, international equestrian event would be a huge win for the city. We take great pride in our western culture and our great history of hosting equestrian events and being able to secure an event of this magnitude would be further proof that Fort Worth is a world class sports destination,” Sands said.

Sands noted that the city has hosted and is scheduled to host a wide range of high profile events, and he credits that to the city’s vision to build Dickies Arena. These events include music legend Paul McCartney coming to town in May for his first concert in Fort Worth since 1976; the recent first and second rounds of the men’s NCAA Basketball Tournament; and many more.

“We’ve always known Fort Worth was a fantastic city, but we now have a spectacular venue that can host a variety of different events, and we are leveraging this new asset to bring in major events,” Sands said. “These events are driving millions of visitors’ dollars into our local economy and our city is thriving as a result.”

The 2019 event, held in Gothenburg, Sweden, was broadcast in 130 countries and generated 887 million impressions across all media platforms, according to a report from city staff. The estimated attendance and economic impact for the event, if held in Fort Worth, is 60,000 attendance and an estimated $21 million in direct spending.

The cost of hosting the event is currently estimated at $8.1 million, said Fort Worth Public Events Director Mike Crum.

“The host organization (SJR/Visit Fort Worth/City of Fort Worth) plans to recover that investment through a combination of revenues that include ticket sales, hospitality sales, and sponsorships,” he said.

City staff is forecasting $11.3 million in revenue and said the event must generate 72% of forecasted revenue to financially break even.

The city’s public events department provided the council with a financial breakdown:

  • The city will cover the initial host fee of $110,000, along with promotion/production expenses estimated at $900,000. This includes marketing, equine transport, stall setup, venue rent, etc.
  • Visit Fort Worth will cover additional expenses associated with promotion/production estimated at $500,000.
  • The city and Visit Fort Worth  will be repaid from the Event Trust Fund, currently estimated at $1.6 million.
  • SJR will cover remaining event expenses.
  • The parties agreed to a three-way split of profit or loss, with the city’s share capped at $1 million profit or loss and Visit Fort Worth’s share capped at $500,000.

Mayor Mattie Parker said the invitation to bid is yet another exciting example of how Fort Worth is gaining international recognition.

“World-class events like the FEI showcase our outstanding Cultural District and its premier event venues, especially the state-of-the-art Dickies Arena, as well as Fort Worth’s strong reputation as a leading destination for equestrian events,” Parker said. “The FEI opportunity and the many other significant sporting events landing in Fort Worth are all examples of how our Fort Worth Sports Commission is propelling the sports tourism industry in this city.”

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House votes to address ‘invasion’ of pop-up events

House votes to address ‘invasion’ of pop-up events

The House passed a bill Wednesday that would crack down on the rise of rowdy pop-up events in Florida.

The proposal (HB 1435) would empower local sheriffs and leaders to more effectively respond to large, unpermitted gatherings.

Ormond Beach Republican Rep. Tom Leek is the bill sponsor. The House passed the bill along a 90-26 vote without debate.

“We need modern laws to deal with a modern problem and how pop-up events and these invasions are coming in and shutting down our towns,” Leek said.

Under the bill, a Sheriff may designate a “special event zone” if a gathering is promoted on social media, attended by more than 50 individuals and disrupting street traffic.

Within the zone, authorities may double fines for noncriminal traffic citations. They also may enforce occupancy limits and impound a vehicle for up to 72 hours for a traffic infraction.

Lawmakers took up the bill Tuesday, leading some Democratic lawmakers to raise concerns about the proposal.

Democratic Rep. Anna Eskamani of Orlando suggested the bill is an extension of last year’s “anti-riot” bill — a proposal acclaimed by Gov. Ron DeSantis that cracked down on riots and protests.

She also feared the bill may disproportionately affect young people, communities of color and demonstrators.

Jacksonville Democratic Rep. Angie Nixon, meanwhile, posed a region-specific question, asking Leek how the bill may impact the famous Florida-Georgia football party.

Hosted in Jacksonville, the rivalry game draws national crowds and inspires a tailgate experience commonly known as the “largest outdoor cocktail party.”

“Hopefully not at all,” quipped Leek.

Leek maintains the bill solely targets social media-driven events. The bill’s staff analysis cites a series of events in Daytona Beach, which may include “Orlando Invades Daytona.”

The event in 2020 drew massive crowds and led to a bridge closure and a city lockdown. Police struggled to contain the pop-up event as it sprawled across several blocks in Volusia County.

“With this bill, we can start to give our local governments and our law enforcement the tools to give our neighborhoods back to the residents,” Leek said.

The bill now awaits Senate consideration.

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