Heart of Danville forced to cancel most events

May 23, 2004|LIZ MAPLES

The bands have already been booked for Whimsy in Weisiger, the nine-week summer concert series, but there's no money to pay for them.

The Heart of Danville organizes the event, but its board decided it doesn't have the money to pay for it after the city cut its funding to $5,000 - it received $40,000 last year. The county cut its share of the Heart's funding by 56 percent to $2,500.

Its board also doesn't think it can do a $10,000 environmental study on the site for the proposed parking garage, said Julie Wagner, Heart executive director. The study has to be completed in 60 days to receive the $1.7 million federal grant.

The Heart will be at the City Commission meeting Monday to ask the city if it wants to take over the series and the study. Supporters plan to wear T-shirts sporting the slogan, "Our Heart Still Beats for Main Street."


The Heart board met Thursday to revise its budget. It decided the organization can keep its doors open for six months, but will need community donations.

Even trimmed down, it needs $16,000 just to keep the lights and phones on, and to pay its staff of Wagner and an administrative assistant.

All the events, customarily organized by the Heart, are canceled, including the Front Porch Tour, Christmas parade and Cruise-In.

The cost to hire performers for Whimsy is $4,500, and all the contracts have been signed. The total cost of the event to the Heart is $8,000.

The concerts are held in the park, and the Heart organizes a farmer's market in the parking lot diagonally across from the park. It won't have the $1,000 to organize the market this year.

The environmental study was taken over by Wagner. She said that city staff, in the middle of budget crunch, said they didn't have time to do it.

City Manager Darrell Blenniss said Wagner volunteered to do it and that he never said city staff didn't have time to do it. Blenniss said the staff would make time to finish the study.

Wagner said Bluegrass Community Action Agency, the federal grant administrators, told her the study would cost $10,000 -$12,000 if done by private consultants.

The Heart's board has pulled $16,293 out of its savings and will be able to operate until November. That includes $1,614 raised by Danville High School students for the parking garage. The students sold coffee to raise the money.

Board cuts $36,600 from budget

The Heart board has cut $36,600 out of its budget, including in part:

* All promotion and advertising, $500.

* Annual meeting, $1,500.

* Centre Expo, $50.

* Christmas parade, $1,500.

* Cruise-In, $1,500.

* Downtown Business Committee, $300.

* Farmer's Market, $1,000.

* Front Porch Tour, $100.

* Whimsy in Weisiger performer fees, $4,500.

* Travel and training, $2,000.

* Conference and association dues, $300.

* Parking structure, $300.

* Preservation committee, $500.

* Renaissance, $450.

* Advocate tab, $1,900.

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