Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman's proposed 2009 budget has drawn quite a bit of concern from citizens, in particular over potential cuts to the Parks and Recreation Department budget, including the closing of the Columbus Performing Arts Center.

Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman's proposed 2009 budget has drawn quite a bit of concern from citizens, in particular over potential cuts to the Parks and Recreation Department budget, including the closing of the Columbus Performing Arts Center.

The CPAC houses the city-run Davis Performing Arts Programs for Youth, but also features multiple performance spaces often rented by local organizations and performers. Grassroots efforts to maintain the facility and its programs have found an umbrella under Save the Davis, a loose confederation of individuals begun on the social networking site Facebook. Brenda Tuch, a self-confessed "drama mama," is among those participating in the effort.

"We'd like to work as a partner with the city to maintain the building and (have programs) run by cooperating organizations," she told The Beat. "I think it's feasible and we can make it work if we're given a chance to keep it open." She said the mayor's office has expressed a willingness to look at partnerships and cooperative agreements.

"Look at what we've done in just a few weeks," she said of efforts that have raised $8,000 in funds and pledges. "We're pursuing every avenue we can."

Tuch said all funds raised by Save the Davis are being forwarded to the Friends of the Davis Programs, the existing nonprofit support organization for the center. Parks and Recreation Department spokesperson

Terri Leist told The Beat the facility "is still scheduled to close once the city budget is passed," which she said she anticipates in February.

Leist also said the proposed cuts include dropping the city's sponsorship of the Jazz & Ribfest and Festival Latino, but that the department could continue to mount the summer events if other sponsorship can be found. Leist said the center will honor any existing rental contracts.

Doug Evans, a spokesperson for local concert promoter Six String Concerts, confirmed that he has been told the center will honor contracts for the remaining five concerts it has booked there. For more on this issue, read the BeatBlog at http://www.ThisWeekNews.com/beatblog.