Back in 1986, City Park wasn't the recreation destination it is these days. "The park was facing hard times," says City Park Jazz boardmember Susan Klann. "There'd been an uptick in criminal activity nearby, and people weren't going there as much." To reverse this trend, Klann notes, a group of residents created a local concert series under the theory that the music "would appeal to a lot of different types of people in this very diverse neighborhood." That certainly proved to be the case. City Park Jazz expanded from five shows per summer to ten in 2000, and the annual attendance has swelled to approximately 60,000. Moreover, the performances are still free thanks to companies such as Frontier Airlines and the generosity of attendees, who are encouraged to slide a dollar or two into a narrow-necked donation jar. Removing the bills requires a coat hanger and some patience, Klann admits, but it's worth it. "Every year," she says, "at least a couple concerts are sponsored by the fans of City Park Jazz."