Heart's economic impact is tremendous

May 24, 2004

Dear Editor:

I take issue with the two points the "Bowling Bloc" made in cutting the Heart of Danville's budget 89 percent. 1) Money elsewhere could have a greater impact. 2) City employees oversee grants and redevelopment.

I interned for the Heart two summers ago. I know that though their mission is limited to downtown they touch thousands more: prospective Centre students, professionals, and businesses along with Brass Band Festival attendees and anyone living in Boyle and surrounding counties.

Secondly, the Heart's economic impact is tremendous. On East Main Street, for example, the Post Office, not on the bypass as intended, acts as an anchor that brings restaurants and professionals. Property values are rising in an area ripe for economic growth. Would city employees been able to dedicate time to fight this good fight? Moreover, hasn't the Heart earned more than a $5,000 return on these community investments by increasing the local tax base?


The parking structure is another achievement. Increasing parking capacity will economically diversify this community so that growth doesn't have to be only linear. Furthermore, busing services will provide those who don't drive transportation to groceries on the bypass. The parking structure will provide options and economic growth. Would we commit city employees to years of work for this achievement?

I don't doubt that people at City Hall can write successful grants. But private and public grants entail more than an application. Julie Wagner travels to Frankfort and Washington, D.C., to lobby for money. This personal interaction is undoubtedly a primary factor in us being richly rewarded. Would it be wise for our city employees to leave daily duties to achieve the same goal?

I understand the argument that the money isn't there for the Heart's full request. However, $5,000 is an insult given what the Heart has fiscally and culturally done for this community.

Ryan Montgomery


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