On behalf of the Swing for a Cure charitable softball tournament, Tom Houser recently presented the Berea City Council with a handsomely framed photo of Berea City Park ball fields.
The organizer of one charitable event had kinds words for Berea city officials Tuesday night after he successfully staged an event for the cause of fighting cancer.
Tom Houser, coordinator of the Swing for A Cure softball tournament, thanked both the city and the Berea Tourism Commission for their support of the event, which took place in early September. Berea Parks and Recreation Director Cilla Bloom and her staff were also praised for managing to get the fields ready despite a weekend downpour. The tournament featured 28 teams from all over Kentucky and one from West Virginia. Houser said he hopes to have 35-40 teams at future tournaments.
Following his remarks, Houser presented the Berea City Council with a photograph of the ball fields. He presented a similar framed photo to the tourism commission last week.
In other developments, it was good news and bad news for the Berea Quilt Extravaganza last week. The good news was that the Berea Tourism Commission voted to cover $2,500 in costs for the 14th annual event. The bad news was that organizers announced plans to suspend the show for 2018.
Addressing the commission, Berea Arts Council Director Gwen Childs announced organizers decided to suspend the event following less-than expected attendance. The quilt extravaganza had to be staged at Foley Middle School last August instead of at Berea Community, where it is usually held. The move was necessary because of construction at the school.
Childs explained there are a number of factors that are likely impacting Berea’s quilt event. First, similar shows are now occurring around the region, thus competing with Berea’s. Additionally, the number of vendors suppling quilting products is steadily shrinking, thus making it harder to get retailers to rent booths at Berea’s show, Childs said. While the arts council has not ruled out staging the extravaganza in the future, it won’t take place in 2018. “We struggled with this decision,” Childs said. “But it is important that we continue to remain a vibrant arts community in other ways.”
In other business, the Berea Tourism Commission announced the award of several grants last week. The commission voted to fund the following, and provide in-kind support for advertising where appropriate:
Twilight Christmas Parade, $1,600. Commissioners declined to fund a request for prize money for the float decorating contest.
Sustainable Berea, $2,500:
Battle of Richmond: $1,000:
Berea Maker’s Market: $500:
Berea Celtic Festival, $500:
Berea Chamber of Commerce, $5,000:
Swing for a Cure, $1,000:
Berea Arena Theater (BAT) $2,500: Commissioners noted that BAT events are well attended, but Cheryl Stone said not getting the schedule of performances out on time has hindered the degree to which tourists can access the shows. Stone thus recommended approving funding on the condition that BAT produces and advertises its schedule in the timely fashion to alert tourists.
AMP Levitt Music Series: Ali Blair, with sponsorship from the Berea Arts Council, requested a partnership with the commission, and the commission voted to promise a $3,000 cash match if Berea is selected to stage the AMP Levitt Concert Series in 2018. The commission initially approved the funding by a vote of 3-2. However, Commissioner Dale Ballinger said he wasn’t clear on certain aspects of the proposal. The commission thus rescinded that vote, discussed the issue in detail, then voted again, at which point the funding was approved 4-1. Charles Arnold cast the dissenting vote.
On another item, Berea Mayor Steve Connelly briefly addressed the commission on the issue of Special Purpose Government Entities. Connelly was responding to an inquiry by a citizen who expressed concern that the city might be in violation of Kentucky statutes regarding the governance of the Berea Tourism Commission. Connelly quoted a legal opinion from the Commonwealth of Kentucky confirming that the Berea Tourism Commission is in full compliance with its governance and reporting responsibilities under Kentucky law.