Community organizations could lose out on funding

By Gus Bode

City Council to vote on whether to provide money to 11 programs

Because of recommended actions by City Manager Jeff Doherty, all but one community organization’s request for funding from the city for the 2007 fiscal year could be denied at tonight’s City Council meeting.

Eleven organizations, including The Boys and Girls Club, Attucks Community Services Inc. and the Cardboard Boat Regatta, asked for funding that totaled more than $180,000 for the 2007 fiscal year. Although the city’s general fund is nearly $7 million, Doherty recommended the council only approve the $2,000 requested by the Cardboard Boat Regatta.


The $2,000 would assist the regatta in sponsoring Splash ‘n’ Saturday, an event that would combine the annual regatta with the Doc Spackman Memorial Triathlon in 2007.

He suggested the city fund the Splash ‘n’ Saturday because the city has provided funding for the Cardboard Boat Regatta in the past and the event has proven to be an attraction for people outside of Carbondale, he said.

The regatta, which requires racers to build boats strictly out of cardboard, is approaching its 33rd year in April. The race was invented at SIUC and has been featured nationwide on MTV, Good Morning America, CNN and Sports Illustrated. The triathlon, now in its 23rd year, honors the late Robert “Doc” Spackman, a renowned figure in physical fitness who served as athletic trainer at the University. It has been sponsored by SIUC and the city in the past.

Attucks Community Services Inc., which received $65,918 from the city in fiscal year 2006, requested the most funding, nearly $80,000, as a permanent increase in funding. The increased funds will help maintain operations, as well as cover an extension of hours and pay for uniforms and travel of a newly formed drill team.

Attucks Community Services is a black, community-based organization that has served the north side of Carbondale and the surrounding communities for more than 30 years by offering youth activities and a computer technology center.

Delores Albritton, director of Attucks Community Services Inc., said the additional funds are crucial to the future of the services offered.

“We really need that (money) to keep the center going,” Albritton said. “It would help the center and the drill team.”


The drill team formed about six weeks ago and has 23 participants from kindergarten to sixth grade. Albritton said she would like to increase that number to 50 children but does not believe it will be possible without the city’s assistance.

The money will be used for transportation to and from competitions and events, as well as warm uniforms for outdoor performances, she said.

The Boys and Girls Club, which also received $30,000 in fiscal year 2006, requested another $9,831 to create a part-time paid position that would assist Executive Director Randy Osborn recruit and maintain business partners and volunteers, he said.

“We want to do more than just warehouse the kids,” Osborn said of the 600 children the club serves. “Without resources to hire more staff, we’ll just have to recruit volunteers.”

Doherty recommended denial of these applications, among others, because the city does not have the funds to finance every worthy cause in the community, and the city needs to invest in it’s own operations, Doherty said.

City Council will vote on the pre-applications at tonight’s City Council meeting at 7 p.m. in the Civic Center.

Reporter Haley Murray can be reached at [email protected]