New Albany News

Eight community groups receive grants from council

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New Albany City Council on March 4 unanimously approved $88,000 in grants to community groups for 2014.

The grants and nonprofit funding committee, which includes Mayor Nancy Ferguson and Councilmen Chip Fellows and Sloan Spalding, reviewed the requests prior to the meeting and made a recommendation to City Council on March 4.

The committee recommended giving funding to eight groups.

Four received $10,000 each: the Founders Day committee, the New Albany Symphony Orchestra, the New Albany-Plain Township Historical Society and the Pelotonia cancer-research fundraiser. Pelotonia's contributions will be mostly in-kind, Ferguson wrote in an email to City Council.

The New Albany Walking Classic received $8,000 and the New Albany Chamber of Commerce received $5,000, both of which will be mostly in-kind contributions, Ferguson's email said.

In December, City Council agreed to provide $10,000 to the New Albany-Plain Local School District and match up to $5,000 more if New Albany-Plain Local or Eastland-Fairfield Career and Technical Schools contribute to upgrades needed for a permanent renewable-energy education center south of Swickard Woods and north of New Albany Middle School.

The money would be used to extend a water and sewer line to the facility and upgrade it to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

City Council also decided to give the New Albany Community Events board $20,000 if it hosts two events in 2014 and $35,000 if it hosts three events.

Community events board president Rob Yanok and vice president Hans Schell spoke to City Council on March 4.

Schell said the board's budget for two 2014 events -- Spring Fest and the Fourth of July celebration -- is $34,000.

He said the board had $2,000 left from 2013 and has received a $5,000 donation from Mount Carmel Health, but it needs about $30,000 to successfully run the events.

Schell reminded City Council that the board paid the city $9,800 in 2013 for services associated with events.

City crews often help set up events and remove trash after an event, city officials have said.

Ferguson made a motion March 4 to give $35,000 to the board for completing two events but it was amended after other council members disagreed.

Fellows said other groups are encouraged to raise funds on their own.

Schell said the events board would like to add a third event and expand the events already offered, but the group is made up of all volunteers and cannot do much fundraising.

Councilwoman Colleen Briscoe said the board was not intended to receive all of its funding from the city. She requested an amendment to Ferguson's motion, to give the board $20,000 for two events and to reconsider its request in the future, adding $15,000 to the donation if the board adds a third event in 2014.

Councilman Stephen Pleasnick seconded the amendment and the amended motion passed unanimously.

The city budgeted $106,000 for community grants in 2014.

Two groups that requested funding in the past, the New Albany Arts Council and New Albany-Plain Local Challenge Day, did not request grants this year.

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