A challenge to match $15,000 in funding to the Niagara Arts and Cultural Center is still on the table despite a rejection from the Niagara Falls City Council last week. YNN's Meg Rossman has more on the Oishei Foundation's offer and why it's being brought to the council a second time.
NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. — Local leaders have called it an "integral" part of the community, and now the Niagara Falls City Council may have one last shot to restore $30,000 in funding to the Niagara Arts and Cultural Center.
"At the last council meeting, there was a presentation by Bob Gioia of the Oishei Foundation where he offered to match dollar-for-dollar up to $15,000 any funding council was willing to restore,” Mayor Paul Dyster said.
The City Council majority unofficially rejected the offer last Tuesday and now Dyster is adding it to the council's March 4 agenda.
"That would ask the council to vote on the Oishei proposal," he said.
How city council members feel about the upcoming vote is unclear. City Council Chairman Glenn Choolokian and Councilman Sam Fruscione failed to respond to our repeated requests for comment. What is clear, though, is that even if the council formally rejects the proposal, that doesn't necessarily mean that $15,000 is off the table just yet.
"It then prepares the way for Niagara Arts and Cultural Center to go back to the Oishei Foundation and say, 'will you leave the $15,000 on the table for us to try to match with private sector donations?'" Dyster explained.
Meanwhile, he said NACC officials are working to pay winter heat bills that should have been covered by the $30,000 cut by the council. In the past, council members said they were planning on using the $30,000 for city services. Despite that, Dyster said he's hopeful the council will have a change of heart.
"Thirty-thousand annually for the arts is roughly 60 cents per capita. It's not a very large investment."