Community events planners can breathe a sigh of relief. On Monday, Marco Island’s City Council approved nine community grants totaling $40,405 in cash and in-kind services. Applications, received by the city last October, were reviewed and recommended by the Parks & Recreation Advisory Committee prior to council’s meeting.
The grants program was established in 2008 to support fledgling events in their initial years.
“We welcomed applications from any organization and from all segments of the community,” said Bryan Milk, director of the city’s Parks and Recreation Department.
He received 10 applications in all. One request was denied because it was received later than the city’s deadline, Milk said.
In its 2011 budget, city council earmarked $70,000 for its Community Grants and Service Awards Program. The funds included $18,430 to the Greater Marco Family Y’s city contracted swimming lessons and pool maintenance. An additional $10,000 will be used for the community’s 2011 Fourth of July fireworks.
The Y received its money about 30 days ago, Milk said.
“The total cost of fireworks and an off-shore barge will be around $40,000,” said Milk. “You’ll probably see Parks and Recreation contribute an additional $5,000 to $7,000 through fundraising events.”
That would leave more than $20,000 to be raised by the community.
Of the $41,460 remaining from the fund, applicants could request up to $8,000, an amount split between no more than $5,000 in cash and up to $3,000 for city services including fire and police support.
The Island Parks and Recreation Foundation received the highest award picking up $6,930. Its original request for $7,750 was reduced to make sure all organizations received grants, said Milk.
In 2010, the Island Parks and Recreation Foundation received $6,275.
“That will be the first check I cut,” said Milk, explaining the payment would be retroactive for Motorcycle Madness, a fundraiser held in November 2010.
The remaining eight requests affect activities taking place in 2011.
Tommie Barfield Elementary requested $4,850 for its Authors and Artist night and will receive $2,425. The school did not request a community service grant in 2010.
A grant was approved for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. This year’s event, scheduled for the weekend of May 1, will take place on the beach and will receive $5,850 from the city. In 2010, event planners did not request a grant. This year’s requested amount was $6,500.
Marco Island Seafood Festival organizers requested a grant of $8,000 in cash and services for its event March 26-27 at Veteran’s Community Park. The group received $8,000 in 2010. Council approved $6,400 for this year’s activities.
Southwest Florida’s Sons and Daughters of Erin can expect $5,000 in support for its St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Marco Island. Last year, the group received $6,215 for the parade and requested $8,000 in 2011. This year’s $5,000 is a combined cash and in-kind service grant.
As a first-year event, Marco Island Foundation for the Arts will be creating a juried art show in Veteran’s Community Park on April 9-10. The show is planned as an upscale event for serious artists, Milk said. The Foundation requested $5,000 and received $4,950.
The Art League of Marco Island’s Center for the Arts was granted $5,850 for its annual 2-day art show on its property at 1010 Winterberry Drive. During that event, costs are higher for city services because activities block the street to vehicular traffic in front of the building.
The Calusa Garden Club also will hold a 2-day event on the Art League’s property and will receive a city grant of $1,500. And Marco Island’s Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6370 will receive $1,500 for help placing flags in the medians on Veterans’ Day, Memorial Day and Independence Day. Last year, Marco Island’s VFW received $1,092.
“As we get into budgeting 2012, we need to seriously consider whether we need to be in the business of funding community activities,” Said Councilor Joe Batte.
Councilor Trotter agreed that council’s philosophy should be to wean organizations off the city’s money over time.
The grants and services awards passed unanimously on Monday. Council Chairman Frank Recker was absent from the meeting.