Tuesdays off track
Published 11:03 am Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Main Street events will end without more funds
Unless more money comes in, Austin Community Alliance volunteers could end Tuesdays on Main next week.
A lack of support from area organizations, volunteer arguments and dwindling crowds have left the ACA with little money, according to ACA president Kiersten Hall.
“The lowdown of it all is we need money,” Hall said.
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Hall said the ACA has about $2,800, and needs at least $8,000 if not more to pay for bands, electricity, amenities and other costs for Tuesdays on Main events throughout the rest of the summer. If organizers can’t come up with the money, Hall and other ACA members plan to end Tuesdays on Main after the June 25 event.
Yet money isn’t coming in easily. Though local companies like Hormel Foods Corp. have donated to the event, other groups such as Vision 2020 and the Austin Area Chamber of Commerce haven’t supported it since it began last year, leaving Hall and volunteers to personally pay for Tuesdays on Main expenses.
Hall said she put thousands of dollars of her own money into Tuesdays on Main expenses over the past two years, and can’t afford to finance events.
“I’m trying to do something good,” she said. “I don’t see why people aren’t supporting it.”
Not enough residents have come to Tuesdays on Main events this year either. Hall said between 800 to 1,500 people were at last year’s Tuesdays on Main events, though at times events were scarcely attended. Even fewer people have come this year, which has led some vendors to leave.
Hall said the event is open to the public every week and wondered why more people weren’t coming.
ACA volunteers have recently dwindled as well, culminating in a public falling-out between former ACA treasurer Naomi Thompson and Hall. Four board members have left the group for various reasons unrelated to Tuesdays on Main since last year, according to Hall, though one board member was recently added.
Thompson was one board member who stayed with the ACA into this year, until an argument between herself and Hall led to Thompson quitting. Thompson, who co-owns Healing Palms Spa with her husband, and Hall had disagreements on financing.
But Thompson and Hall agree on one thing: Despite some funding from outside sources, Hall essentially is going broke financing Tuesdays on Main.
To that end, ACA volunteers walked around this week’s Tuesdays on Main event seeking donations from residents, and Hall posted a public request for help on the alliance’s Facebook page. ACA volunteers are asking residents and local businesses to donate $8,000 over the next few weeks, in order to pay off Tuesdays on Main bills and help with upcoming expenses.
“Regardless of what you think of me, or what you have been led to believe, the question at hand is, ‘Does Austin want this event?'” Hall said. “Unless Austin businesses and residents support , donates and attends Tuesdays on Main, this event will cease to exist.”
To donate, contact Kiersten Hall at www.downtownaustinmn.com.