Niagara Gazette

Local News

August 27, 2013

City council candidates discuss fundings of civic and cultural organizations

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — Councilwoman Kristen Grandinetti and Councilman Charles Walker — both up for reelection — voted to pass the agreements that would have funded the organizations as outlined in the adopted budget.

Grandinetti said she could not promise to restore funding, but she realizes the important role that cultural organizations play in the community, especially as schools continue to cut funding to arts and music programs.

"We did run up against it this year and we were forced to cut some funding, but I do think that we cannot minimize the importance of arts and culture in our community," Grandinetti said.

Walker said he "totally supports" the NACC and would like to see funding restored to the organizations that lost funding.

"The arts are important to any city, especially a city that's trying to grow or a city that has tourism," he said.

Vincent Sandonato said he supports funding cultural institutions like the NACC, but would like to see more creative and efficient uses of the city money.

He suggested that the NACC could move to Main Street to create a more concentrated cultural district surrounding the Rapids Theatre.

"I fully encourage the growth of the NACC along with a reduction of the services that are wasteful," Sandonato said.

Russ Vesci said he sees other issues for the city, like infrastructure improvements and public safety concerns, as taking precedent over the funding of the organizations.

"Although I believe the arts and culture are essential to a community I believe that it should be funded through patronage and through sponsorship, definitely," Vesci said. "Whatever needs to be done to seek out those sponsorships would be fantastic."

Robert Elder, who recently toured the NACC with his wife Brandy, said the organization offers programming that works towards keeping kids safe and does more for the community than provide a cultural space.

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