The Union Recorder

Local News

November 13, 2013

First Friday in need of funding help for improvements

MILLEDGEVILLE — Milledgeville Main Street’s successful family friendly First Friday events need some financial relief to foster growth, according to Milledgeville District 4 City Councilman Phillip Joiner.

The topic headed discussion at Tuesday’s City Council work session.

After three years of existence, Joiner said a yearly Main Street “pot” of $3,500 used to produce entertainment for four full city blocks restricts the output.

“To make each block flourish with music and everything that goes into each block of the city, they get $73,” Joiner said. “It was almost stinging to see how little that First Friday has to work with. The goal is to spark a discussion amongst this group as to what can or should the city do to assist First Fridays in the long or short term as they continue to grow.”

Joiner said more funds mean more city block participation. Also, comparable towns have larger Main Street office staffs.

“The folks here are doing double the work of the people they have,” the Councilman said. “But they are stretched very thin with the resources currently available to them. The First Friday Committee has stepped up, and I think the city should follow suit.”

Joiner added that the festive Friday events increase downtown business between 10 to 50 percent. 

District 4 City Councilman-elect Walter Reynolds said continually asking bands to play for less money or even free of charge is “incredibly difficult.”

“I believe the quality of entertainment we could provide to the community with a smaller budget increase would be exponentially worthwhile and pay off in the long run,” Reynolds said Tuesday.

Councilwoman Denese Shinholster, District 3, said a line item increase was for future budget proceedings.

“(Main Street Director Carlee Schulte) needs to increase the line item in her budget request,” Shinholster said. “I commend them for everything. They’ve done a wonderful job with the money they have.”

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