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May 10, 2011 > Community promotions funding slashed

Community promotions funding slashed

By Simon Wong

In the past few years, local organizations that promote the arts, celebrate cultural diversity or promote the community have received grant funding through the City of Hayward's Community Promotion Program (CPP), amounting to between $112,000 and $180,000, annually. Individual grants have ranged from $200 to $33,300. FY 2011 saw total funding of $118,351 of which $75,000 came from the Redevelopment Agency (RDA). The possible abolition of redevelopment in California means withdrawal of the RDA's commitment, equivalent to a 63.4 percent funding reduction.

The city has received 11 grant applications, totaling $134,350, for FY 2012. As of April 4, 2011, the Council's Economic Development Committee (CEDC) recommended total awards of $43,351. This figure might be reduced further if the city's FY 12 budget needs revision. According to the CEDC, most activities, such as the Blues Festival, Municipal Band Concert Series and the Hayward Arts Council - Arts Promotion are funded by redevelopment tax increment monies because they benefit the Hayward RDA.

The Sun Gallery and Hayward Arts Council & Cinema Place Art Gallery's respective applications for $33,030 and $35,000 were scaled down to recommendations for $12,138 and $9,104.

The Blues Festival, Hayward Municipal Band and the Lighthouse Community Center celebrate cultural diversity. Grant requests for between $1,000 and $24,300 saw reductions of up to 67.6 percent. South Hayward Lions Club will receive no funding, as per the CEDC.

The Pacific Chamber Symphony, the Honor Band and Youth Orchestra of Southern Alameda County promote the arts. Funding applications were reduced by as much as 67.5 percent.

The annual Zucchini Festival, which applied for $20,000, celebrates Hayward. The Memorial Day Service at Lone Tree Cemetery is a community promotion event and applied for $1,000. The EDC recommended $434 for each.

Those seeking grants, except for the Bay Area Blues Society, spoke at the April 4 EDC meeting in support of their applications, the benefits and success of their organizations' events, of the people whom they serve and against the draconian cuts which some claim threaten their organizations' survival.

Councilmembers Barbara Halliday and Francisco Zermeno and Committee member Waseem Khan favored an overall allocation of $50,000. Zermeno invited organizations, serving similar audiences, to consider partnerships with each other.

The CEDC reconvened on May 2 having received feedback from applicants after April's meeting. Many reiterated the need for adequate funding to operate as going concerns. Some are receptive to the idea of partnerships between organizations that serve similar demographics or share goals while others consider that multiple entities complement each other.

Moving forward, the Committee assumes RDA funds will not be available and that $50,000 will be the full allocation for the CPP, for now. Should redevelopment survive, the RDA's commitment of $75,000 can be brought back. Although Council will adopt the city's FY 2012 budget in June, the CEDC would like to review CPP funding in the Fall when, hopefully, the state will have delivered a balanced budget and the future of redevelopment is clear.

The revised staff recommendations for awards, based on funding of $50,000, are: Sun Gallery ($14,000); Blues Festival ($10,000); Hayward Arts Council & Cinema Place Art Gallery ($10,500); Hayward Municipal Band ($7,000); Pacific Chamber Symphony ($2,500); Honor Band ($3,000); Youth Orchestra of Southern Alameda County ($1,500); Zucchini Festival, Memorial Day and Lighthouse Community Center ($500 each); South Hayward Lions Club (original recommendation).

Given that tight control over costs and doing more with less are necessary and an efficient use of funding through cooperation and partnerships is desirable, the Hayward Arts Council was pleased to announce it will save $10,000 annually when it relocates from the Green Shutter Hotel on Main Street to the Hayward Area Historical Society's new building on Foothill Boulevard.

A City Council public hearing for CPP grants is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Tuesday, June 14, 2011.

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