Soul of 2nd St., airport board give funding pitches

Published 7:26 pm Friday, March 29, 2019

Editor’s note: This is the final story in a series focused on agency funding requests made to the City of Danville for fiscal year 2019-20.

Michael Hughes told the City of Danville during its agency funding requests meeting that the Soul of 2nd Street festival has transitioned. He thanked the Heart of Danville for hosting the festival for the last four years, but said the main sponsor would now be the Danville-Boyle County African-American Historical Society that Hughes is president of.

The festival did not ask for funding last year; it’s asking for $5,000 from the city this year.

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Hughes also thanked former Heart Director Nick Wade, who relocated for another job opportunity.

“Without the Heart of Danville … believing in the vision almost five years ago, the festival would’ve never materialized,” he said. But to produce a festival, he said, takes finances.

Hughes said the history society wants to take on the challenge of growing Soul of 2nd Street “as something we can be proud of for many years to come. We’re asking the city to help us attain this goal.”

Hughes said he was “hearing through the grapevine” that a lot of people think the festival is just about the African-American community. “It’s not. It’s about our community — the whole community.”

Last year’s history conference, which happened the day before the festival at Boyle County Public Library, was a “huge success.” This year, organizers are attempting to bring in Frank X Walker and Jack Givens as presenters.

The festival is also trying to involve local churches and youth groups. Looking back, it’s easy to see so many African-American businesses thriving in the Second Street area; now there are hardly any, he said.

Hughes said it’s important for the festival to “inspire youth and the people of Danville” to hopefully create more African-American businesses in the future. “We would like to see that materialize again.”

After being asked, Hughes said the festival is also asking the Boyle County Fiscal Court for $3,000.

“We have some private donations, too,” Hughes said.

Commissioner Rick Serres said the Convention and Visitors Bureau “may have a little interest in promoting this.”

Hughes said the festival has been talking with the CVB. “We’ve formed a committee and they are on it with us. Centre College is also working with us … We’re working hard.”

He said he knows there’s an economic impact on the city from the festival, “but I don’t think we have any data that can back that up.” Hughes said when the first one was held in 2014, two former classmates from Danville were reunited who hadn’t seen each other in 50 years.

“Five years later, and they talk on the phone every week now,” he said.

Mayor Mike Perros asked Hughes if organizers have done any outreach “before the festival, that allows people such as that to reach into their pocket and put a $20, a $10, even a $1.”

Hughes said, “Some of what we’re trying to achieve is personal donations. We’ll do it during the festival, too.” He said food sales also help. “We’re not out here just saying we’re depending on the city or anyone else.”

He said the ultimate goal, other than growing statewide recognition of the festival, is to be financially self-sufficient.

“But even if we didn’t have any money, we’d still have the festival. We’d show up in the park and do something. When it comes to entertainment, I can do that …” Hughes said. “But we really feel this is so important to the community.”

Danville-Boyle County Airport Board

Rob Caldwell said the Danville-Boyle County Airport Board has put in a new 10-unit T-hangar, primarily paid for by the FAA.

“But we need another one. We have 20 persons on our list, and we know 10 of those are planes just waiting for a place to park,” Caldwell said.

The airport board is asking for $15,000 from the city, the same amount it was allocated last year.

Caldwell said the airport gets 90 percent of its budget from the FAA, and the state pays 7.5 percent, which leaves 2.5 percent the board pays on projects for improvements.

He said due to the flight school becoming so active out of the airport, a second entranceway is needed to the ramp for safer ingress and egress.

“We have multiple jets, so the traffic flow gets tough on the ramp.”

He said the state paid for a concrete pad to park the jets on when they’re here in the summer, because they were sinking into the ramp, and they are asking them to provide a few more parking spots in concrete.

“Also on the list is improving the turnaround. Because of the grade elevation, at the east end of the airport, our parallel taxiway does not go all the way to the runway,” Caldwell said. “We have a turnaround which is really tight for the jets. We’re looking for funding to enlarge that.”

A few other maintenance projects are on the list, as well, Caldwell said.

Commissioner Kevin Caudill said the amount of fuel sales and how it continues to increase amazes him. Fuel and related sales for the next fiscal year are estimated at $508,617; Caldwell said the airport sold roughly 7,000 gallons of jet fuel over the last month.

“Anytime anyone sees anybody employed by Jess Correll or Lafayette Engineering, thank them. We do get corporate traffic in, but those guys are really helping to keep our lights on.”

The airport board is also asking for $15,000 from Boyle County Fiscal Court, as well.