By Tina Alvey
Following new guidelines put in place two months ago, Greenbrier County commissioners largely abided by the recommendations of their arts and recreation committee in awarding $427,370 in grants.
The 32 projects receiving money from the county’s arts and recreation (A&R) fund last week ranged from the county’s six libraries, which will split a $90,000 grant, to a local group dedicated to combating pancreatic cancer, which received a $550 award to put toward supplies for a triathlon.
Relatively few of the grant applicants received the full amount for which they applied. Requests totaled more than $816,000, while the grant pool contained only $450,000.
All of the money in the A&R fund comes from hotel/motel occupancy tax revenue, most of which originates with collections at The Greenbrier resort. The 3 percent tax is collected by lodging establishments located outside municipal limits in the county.
Greenbrier County bed tax collections total around $1 million annually, with half of that money going to the county’s Convention and Visitors Bureau. State law restricts the purposes toward which the amount retained by the county may be spent.
For the past several years, the county has allocated a large portion of its A&R fund toward grants for qualifying projects submitted by nonprofit organizations and government subdivisions.
Projects receiving funding this year are:
Alderson 4th of July (offset total cost of entertainment venue) — $12,000
Alderson Community Center for the Arts and Humanities (tables and children’s activities for an after-school program) — $2,500
Alderson Community Food Hub (market art activities/music series) — $1,800
American Heritage Music Hall (flooring, tables) — $5,000
Battle of Dry Creek (toilets, band) — $1,040
Carnegie Hall (program support) — $50,000
Central Greenbrier Little League (scoreboards) — $7,500
Energy Express Consortium (program support) — $2,480
Friends of the White Sulphur Springs Fish Hatchery (sound and tent rental) — $2,000
Greenbrier County 4-H Leaders Association (program supplies and support) — $6,000
Greenbrier County Arts and Recreation (courthouse mini park) — $9,400
Greenbrier County Arts and Recreation (Friendship Park, development) — $26,000
Greenbrier County Commission (Meadow River Trail project) — $41,250
Greenbrier County Commission (Sears house roof/lead test) — $13,000
Greenbrier County Youth Camp (ADA swimming pool lift) — $3,500
Greenbrier Girls Softball League (ball field upgrades) — $8,550
Greenbrier Group to Fight Pancreatic Cancer (supplies to support triathlon) — $550
Greenbrier Valley Theatre (sesquicentennial support) — $10,000
Greenbrier Valley Theatre (program support) — $50,000
L.Z. Rainelle, West Virginia Veterans Reunion (quilt, restroom) — $4,900
Lewisburg Steelers (portable scoreboard) — $2,500
Public libraries of Greenbrier County — $90,000
Quinwood Library (summer reading program) — $2,300
Town of Rainelle (gym floor resurfacing, window replacement) — $9,600
Town of Rainelle (Greenbrier Hills Golf Course: chemicals and fertilizer) — $10,000
Town of Rainelle (swimming pool: maintenance, chemicals, equipment repairs) — $13,000
Ronceverte Development Corporation (Clifford Community Center: roof drainage, floor tile) — $7,350
Ronceverte/Fairlea Little League (scoreboard) — $2,500
Ronceverte River Festival (porta-johns, sound, entertainment) — $2,900
City of Ronceverte (construction of three small picnic shelters, repair of roof and soffit) — $11,600
City of White Sulphur Springs (Rotary Park lighting and electric upgrades) — $15,000
Williamsburg District Historical Foundation (gutter repair, purchase of lawnmower) — $1,800
While none of the committee’s recommendations were rejected outright by the County Commission, a grant request from the city of Lewisburg for the construction of a tour bus pull-off in front of the Greenbrier Valley Visitors’ Center on Washington Street was tabled. The city asked for $20,000 for the project, and the A&R committee recommended awarding $10,000.
Commissioner Michael McClung questioned the funding request, saying the tour buses would benefit only the Convention and Visitors Bureau and, therefore, the CVB should bear the cost of the project.
When A&R committee member Doug Hylton pointed out that the total cost of the project is estimated to be at least $50,000, McClung was unmoved, insisting no funding should come “from our half of the rec fund.”
Commissioner Woody Hanna asked McClung, “The CVB needs a tour bus pull-off — don’t you agree?”
McClung said that is not relevant to the funding issue.
After the exchange, the grant request was tabled to enable the commission to ascertain if the CVB is contributing any funding toward the project.
Even without the requested Lewisburg grant, the total awarded set a record.
“That’s the most that’s ever been given out,” commission President Karen Lobban announced.
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