Dublin Villager

Finance Committee hears grant requests

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The wish list of local organizations include transportation to Dublin events for veterans, a marketing study for public art and plans to offer more Irish-themed entertainment.

The Dublin Finance Committee last week heard those requests and more through the city's annual hotel/motel tax grant program.

The city received a total of $132,872 in grant requests from 14 organizations. Funding for the grants come from hotel/motel tax funds collected when people stay in Dublin hotels.

The Dublin Arts Council requested $21,790 in grant funding and $360 of in-kind contributions for "Dublin: A Sense of Place" community research project.

The project would "identify themes and ideas that will strategically inform the development of a drive-by public art collection in Dublin through a cultural arts project that beautifies public property, appeals to Dublin visitors and residents and enhances the community by defining a sense of place," the grant application stated.

DAC marketing and public relations manager Janet Cooper told finance committee members Marilee Chinnici-Zuercher and Richard Gerber the research would inform future public art that would be geared toward high-traffic areas rather than pedestrian-friendly locations.

"This is to research and ask members of the community what Dublin is about," Cooper said, adding that other organizations in the community could use the findings.

The grant would fund focus groups, interviews with community stakeholders and a community survey, Cooper said.

Chinnici-Zuercher questioned why money was not set aside in the DAC budget to fund this research. "Based on the relative importance ... it seems like you would use your own operating money," she said.

According to Cooper, the DAC is offsetting about $9,000 in costs.

The American Legion also requested $4,000 to transport veterans to Dublin events.

Dublin American Legion Post Commander Jeff Noble told the finance committee he wants to use a trolley to pick up veterans from local retirement homes and transport them to city events including St. Patrick's Day, Independence Day, Memorial Day and Veterans Day.

Chinnici-Zuercher questioned whether the city already offers this service and community relations director Sandra Puskarcik said they've issued the offer on Veterans Day invitations, but it's never been used.

"We don't know how great the need is for transportation to the site," she said.

Noble said he would also like a trolley to transport veterans in Dublin parades.

The finance committee advised the local American Legion Post to work with the community relations and events departments to assess the need and look at options.

The Dublin Convention and Visitors Bureau also put in a request for $7,500 for a planned "Irish is an Attitude Enhancement Program."

According to the grant application, the DCVB would match the $7,500 grant to provide "money to Dublin restaurants, attractions, shops, hotels, etc. for offering Irish entertainment. This entertainment may take the form of music, dance, storytelling, unique Irish experiences, etc."

The DCVB would also create an Irish experience calendar and focus the entertainment on the greatest times of need for Dublin hotels instead of busy times such as the Memorial Tournament or Irish festival.

The finance committee is expected to make a recommendation on grants at the Dec. 10 council meeting.

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