The Oishei Foundation is challenging the Niagara Falls City Council with a dollar-for-dollar grant in an effort to help save the Niagara Arts and Cultural Center. But as YNN's Antoinette DelBel tells us, the City Council says it's not interested.
NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. - Niagara Falls City Council members say they will not respond to the dollar-for-dollar challenge grant put forth by The John R. Oishei Foundation.
The challenge comes after last week's vote by the City Council to cut $30,000 from the Niagara Arts and Cultural Center.
Since then, the Foundation has been looking for ways to help restore the funding.
"It's a very integral part to the community,” said Larry Cook, the senior program officer for the Oishei Foundation. “We feel that it's really the cultural focus and artistic heart of the city."
Monday evening, the Foundation announced it'll match every dollar the City Council restores to the NACC, up to $15,000. That would equal the $30,000 cut from the 2013 budget.
"That $30,000 is an investment, and we have a great deal of economic impact," said Kathie Kudela, executive director of the NACC.
However, City Council members say the Foundation hasn't reached out to them and they don't plan on participating in the challenge at this time.
Cook says the Foundation can work with the organization in a different way.
"It really would probably be up to the community to speak to their legislator to motivate that, and if they choose not to then we have to retract the match,” he said.
Kudela says funding for the multi-arts center has helped them for more than a decade and it's something they've already planned for in their budget this year. She says since last week, there has been an outpouring of community support, with people willing to help with fundraisers and donations.
"People are willing to step up, but right now, time is of the essence for us because we have a heat bill that's there," she said.
For now, Council Chairman Glenn Choolokian says they're sticking to the original plan of using the city's bed taxes for city services, including more policemen on the streets.
However, if casino money owed to the state comes through this year, the City Council says it can look into partially supporting the NACC financially.