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updated: 2/18/2014 2:25 PM

Naperville panel considering special events funding requests

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  • The Midwest SOARRING Foundation is one of many groups seeking funding this spring from Naperville's Special Events and Cultural Amenities Fund. The group wants $40,000 for its annual Harvest Pow Wow.

    The Midwest SOARRING Foundation is one of many groups seeking funding this spring from Naperville's Special Events and Cultural Amenities Fund. The group wants $40,000 for its annual Harvest Pow Wow.
    Daily Herald file photo


Ribfest, Last Fling, the Harvest Pow Wow, Singing for Seniors, the Green Earth Fair and the International Children's Fair all have at least one thing in common.

They are among 41 cultural amenities, 21 special events, 18 new projects and a handful of other initiatives seeking some of the $2 million available in Naperville's Special Events and Cultural Amenities fund, often referred to as SECA.

Grant applications totaling $3.3 million will be discussed during a public hearing Saturday, Feb. 22, as the city's advisory cultural commission forms recommendations about which groups should be funded.

The meeting, to be held at 9 a.m. in the council chambers at the municipal center, 400 S. Eagle St., will be the commission's second about this round of SECA funding, which will be available May 1 as the city begins a new budget year.

This time, applicants and members of the public will be able to address the commission, which held its first workshop last month without public comment. After hearing from the public, the commission will make recommendations to the city council about how to allocate the $2 million in SECA funding to groups seeking roughly $1 million more than is available.

The city council will review recommendations in March and decide on funding allocations in April.

"The cultural advisory commission does all the heavy lifting for us," council member Judith Brodhead said. "I respect their judgment. They spend a lot of time going over the applications."

The only requests that must be funded are three commitments the city has agreed to support with SECA funding, which comes from a 1 percent tax on food and beverages. The city will use $150,000 to help the DuPage Children's Museum pay debt; $146,494 to help Naperville Park District maintain the Riverwalk; and $137,004 to support the Naperville Municipal Band.

Other items likely to be funded are city initiatives including $28,126 for shuttle service to the Fourth of July fireworks at Knoch Park, $10,000 for the fireworks display itself and $4,000 for the police department's crime prevention calendar.

Brodhead said the city typically uses some of the SECA funding to pay costs of administering the grant program, which this year total $91,487.

The rest can be divided among the cultural amenities, special events and new initiatives that are seeking financial assistance. Brodhead said the process helps funnel money spent locally on food and drinks into events that support hometown charities.

"This keeps pumping money into our economy and supports our local restaurants and taverns," Brodhead said. "But also we can help support the cultural life of the city."

Among applicants seeking the highest amounts for new projects are Naperville Park District, which has applied for $574,130 to fund updates at Sportsman's Park; the Naperville Heritage Society, which is seeking $87,512 for movable storage units at Fort Hill inside Naper Settlement; and Hope for the Day, a nonprofit group that is producing a suicide prevention film for teens and by teens that focuses on offering hope through creative expression.

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