Labor Day Festival is up in the air

By Charles Sercombe

This year’s Labor Day Festival will truly take a major work of labor to make it happen.

In order for it to occur, the Downtown Development Authority, which organizes the event, has a self-imposed deadline to raise $50,000 to $75,000 by May 1, or the show is over.

“If we make that mark, the festival is definitely on,” said Darren Grow, the Director of the DDA.

The DDA is now contacting corporate and business contacts to raise the money.

But there are other financial strikes hurting the DDA.

Right now in city hall there is a lot of speculation – and finger-pointing – over why the DDA’s budget is suddenly $100,000 overdrawn.

At press time, the DDA was trying to schedule a special meeting. On the possible chopping block was not only the festival, but also Grow’s position.

The reason for the shortfall, said Grow, is that somehow the city did not catch the end of a tax collection from the private developer who owns, or at this point used to own, the state Department of Human Services building on Jos. Campau.

Grow said that he is still trying to sort out what happened to the tax collection on the building, but at this point it looks like Wayne County purchased the building, and is only required to honor a tax payment of $16,000 a year.

The bottom line at this point is that the DDA is in a serious financial hole.

And that subsequently will mean either the city picks up the tab for the festival, which Grow says usually loses money, or the event is over.

There has been no talk how this would impact the annual Polish Day Parade, which is held on Labor Day.

So, anyone out there with a loaded wallet?

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