DDA seeks help from city

UPDATE: The Dallas Downtown Association has not received financial support from the city of Dallas. All of the DDA's budget has been raised through volunteer efforts and grants.

DALLAS — The Dallas Downtown Association has big plans for 2017 and asked the city of Dallas for some help in seeing those through.

Mark Sturtevant, the president of DDA, spoke to the Dallas City Council during the “public comment” portion of Monday’s council meeting.

He noted that the DDA had a busy year in 2016, completing the train mural on Main Street downtown, sponsoring a Christmas bazaar, hosting an interactive murder-mystery show, and helping sponsor the celebration gathering for Blue Garden sign re-lighting.

Sturtevant said the organization hopes to make the murder-mystery an annual event each October, and will be co-sponsoring a downtown solar eclipse party in August and downtown cruise-in.

He said that since joining the group in September, AmeriCorps Resource Assistance for Rural Environment (RARE) volunteer Emma Guida has been key to the success of the DDA. Guida serves as DDA program manager and will be on the job for 11 months.

The RARE program, run through the University of Oregon, has encouraged DDA to apply for a second year.

“You challenged us to show you we had staying power and skin in the game before you committed to supporting the RARE program,” Sturtevant said. “We done very well in that regard and we were able to raise the capital to fully fund the RARE program this year.

“Now we have a growing operational budget in excess of $42,000. That doesn’t sound like a whole lot of money, but for a small organization, it’s kind of big.”

DDA will apply for grants from the Ford Family Foundation and the Oregon Community Foundation, Sturtevant said.

“In order to assure them that we have community support we would like the city of Dallas to include in the 2017-18 budget the sum of $8,500 ... to support the RARE program,” he said.

Guida, who attended Monday’s meeting, gave an impromptu presentation to the council.

“In the coming year, we’re working on developing a strategic plan for the DDA,” Guida said.

She said that is important, especially if the organization is asking for grant support.

In other business, the council:

• Approved a resolution for a supplementary budget containing a transfer from capital projects in the amount of $261,500 to record the cost of purchasing the former RadioShack property and $350,000 transfer from the general fund to create a new risk management fund, which allocates for insurance premiums, deductibles, claim losses and other insurance-related expenses.

• Approved a resolution officially naming the pedestrian bridge spanning Rickreall Creek from the Dallas Aquatic Center to Central Bark, the city’s dog park, after former Dallas parks supervisor Ron Lines.

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