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CRA pledges $10,000 to four chamber events

By Staff | Oct 20, 2010

The CRA Board pleged $10,000 of sponsorship monies to four Chamber of Commerce events Tuesday, but not before discussing whether the money should be “loaned” or not allocated at all.
The $10,000 is spread over four events: The Farmer’s Market, Holiday Festival of Lights, Celebrate Cape Coral Block Party and Parade, and Red, White and Boom.
Board member Jack Evans wondered if the chamber was “marking up charitable organizations” for event sponsorship, and if the profit made by the chamber during these events warranted the CRA’s financial support.
“There’s an awful lot of beer money that comes in,” Evans said Tuesday.
Board Vice Chairman Jim Martin said the CRA needs to watch every penny spent, especially during “difficult” financial times.
“I’m very concerned about the amount of money we have in the till here,” Martin said Tuesday.
Chairman Don Heisler said the $10,000 was “solely” for the purpose of advertising, which sponsoring the four events accomplishes. Together, the four events bring thousands of people into the CRA each year.
“If we give up on this we have gone against our purpose, which is to bring people down here,” Heisler said.
Chamber President Mike Qaintance said the Chamber of Commerce doesn’t make any money on events if negatively effected by the weather. This prompted board member Dan Crieghton to suggest the CRA “loan” the money to the chamber, which it could pay back if there was a profit made on the particular event.
“It gives the product but it also says we’ll be fiscally responsible,” Creighton said.
Board member Rich Greer said the events have had a “dramatic” effect on downtown and the CRA, as well as his family.
“It’s so important we have these four huge draws and continue to stand behind them,” Greer said. “There’s a lot at stake right now.”
The sponsorship funds were approved 6-1, with Evans dissenting.
In other news, the CRA Board also unanimously approved $10,000 sponsorship for The Cape Coral Festival of the Arts, and $3,000 for the Cardboard Boat Regatta. Both events are operated by the Rotary Club of Cape Coral.
The CRA Board also “tabled” discussion of the Chester Street Resource Center until its November meeting to wait for a full picture of the required finances for the project. A facade grant application will likely be submitted to help with the rehab of the structure’s exterior.
Qaintance could not be reached for comment Tuesday.