LIVERMORE -- After hosting stages of the Amgen Tour of California for the past three years, Livermore won't pursue the prestigious cycling race in 2014, city officials said.
Council members decided July 22 to back off from applying to evaluate the race's logistics, citing demands on city staff and resources -- including planners, public works and public safety -- and negative impacts to downtown businesses.
"We've had a great ride with the Amgen Tour of California," Mayor John Marchand said Monday. "But the time has come to take a year off and re-evaluate the resources."
Marchand credited the race and the city's partnership with Amgen Tour owner and producer AEG with putting Livermore on the world's stage. In the past four years, Marchand said, permits for special events have jumped from 15 to 60; the city, he said, has lost 100 staff members over that period.
"(The Amgen Tour) proved Livermore knows how to put on a party, but are there other parties that we want to have as well?" Marchand said.
AEG spokesman Michael Roth said it's not unusual for a city to take a year off and that the decision by the council should not be construed as a reason for the Amgen Tour to not return eventually.
"We respect their decision," Roth said. "Livermore has been a great partner for the Tour of California ... We are hopeful that they will consider requesting to return as a host city."
In 2012, Livermore City Council members voted to withdraw $100,000 in financial support for hosting the race but, after meeting with AEG, authorized $35,000 to cover the cost of hotels and meals. Through fundraising efforts, the city generated $32,300 and hosted a Stage 7 start on May 18, along with an all-day festival that drew tens of thousands to the downtown area.
A city staff report, however, cites feedback from Livermore Downtown, Inc. stating "the anticipated immediate economic benefits did not materialize for most downtown businesses."
"While there were lots of folks in downtown, and downtown was very busy, the incremental increase was quite modest, and in some cases depending on what business it was, there were some negative impacts," City Manager Marc Roberts told the council.
Roberts added that the "soft cost" to the city was $125,000 -- $90,000 coming on the day of the race -- including in-kind staff expenses.
Livermore Cyclery owner Steve Howard said his business didn't see any benefit financially from the event and, in fact, had to shut down for the day. Though the local cycling community will miss having the race in town next year, he said, it may be a good time to take a break.
"Truly, I think it makes sense because I didn't think (the city) capitalized on what they had," Howard said. "Community involvement was less than it could've been ... I think there was more we could've done to promote the city."
Marchand said he thought the city did a "great job" of promoting tourism and the event given the lack of resources. He added he would be appointing a committee consisting of members of the cycling community and local businesses to find better ways to host the race in the future.
"If it can come back and be a positive event for Livermore, I'd love to have it back," Marchand said.
Contact Jeremy Thomas at 925-847-2184. Follow him at Twitter.com/jet_bang.