Niagara Gazette

Local News

February 4, 2013

Despite public outcry, funding for NACC cut, block club funds slashed by city council

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette —

One by one, representatives from the NBC, block club and NACC approached the podium during Monday evening's council session, encouraging lawmakers to fully support all the good work the largely volunteer organizations do for the city, including cleanup projects, arts and cultural performances and children's educational programs. 

"I want to ask you guys — are you flat-out crazy?" said Jonathan Rogers, one of roughly 80 artists who rent space at the NACC. "There are things that bring spirit and lifeblood to a city, a town and a community and that's what the NACC does." 

Kathie Kudela, the NACC's volunteer executive director, said following Monday's meeting that she planned to meet with the organization's board to discuss funding options for the future. The $30,000 from the city was a large portion of the group's overall funding for the year. 

Before Monday's vote, she asked council members to consider all the good the center has done for the community, noting that it has offered an affordable haven for regional artists and performers as well as local parents and children. She noted that the "civic center" and community "gathering place" has grown from humble beginnings over the years as evidenced by the dozens of people who showed up at city hall to call for restoration of funding to the building. 

"I am very lucky," she said. "To know these people and have them supporting us tonight is very moving." 

Block Club President Roger Spurback took exception to some public remarks made by Choolokian and Fruscione concerning his organization's use of city funds in recent years. Spurback questioned the decision by a majority of council members to eat dinner at the taxpayers' expense in between afternoon and evening council sessions each month, saying they should be leading by example. 

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