Town leader seeks $10,000 to promote cultural events
This year, the All Cooped Up Concert will take place at the Great Falls Discovery Center, 2 Avenue A, Turners Falls, on Saturday, April 5, at 7 p.m. In this file photo, members of the Franklin County Musicians Cooperative — from left, Stephanie Marshall, Pat LaMountain, Russ Thomas and Jennie McAvoy — perform at the Greenfield Energy Park. Recorder file photo
GREENFIELD — Town Council President Mark Wisnewski has asked the mayor to include in the town’s budget next year $10,000 to the Greenfield Business Association to improve local events planning, to develop a marketing plan for Greenfield, to create and maintain an events website and to improve the events the association sponsors.
“The GBA has been the driving force behind most town events for the past decade,” said Wisnewski in a letter to Mayor William Martin. “Through a committee volunteer effort and with a very limited budget, it has brought people into town, invigorating our downtown and making it a great place to both visit and live.”
Wisnewski said $10,000 is a small investment for such a huge payoff. He said even that amount of help will magnify its efforts and help make Greenfield an entertainment destination.
The council president is also asking Martin to set aside $5,000 for five $1,000 grants that would be made available for interested individuals or organizations to implement new events or enhance existing ones.
“The Greenfield Sustainable Master Plan’s economic development section lists the town’s first strategy in that category as ‘market Greenfield as a cultural, tourism and recreation destination through a town-funded marketing plan,’” said Wisnewski.
The second strategy is to support local events, markets and fairs that draw consumers to town and promote shopping downtown, he said.
“Both of these goals could begin being served through this small investment and we could look to build on existing efforts in subsequent years, when we find ourselves ready to develop a full marketing plan,” said Wisnewski.
He said events such as the Double Take Fringe Festival or Greenfield Energy Park music series might benefit from a one-time $1,000 grant.
Wisnewski suggests that the town’s planning department, with input from the GBA, could administer the grants.
“I believe it is time to capitalize on the energy that has been created by the new master plan,” said Wisnewski, who was a member of the 35-member committee that created it. “These small efforts could be the foundation from which the loftier goals are built.”
Town Council can only add money to the school budget, so the $10,000 would have to be included in next year’s budget by the mayor.
Martin could not be reached for comment on Thursday because he was at a meeting out of town for the day.
“I haven’t had a chance to read through the entire proposal,” said GBA Coordinator Caitlin von Schmidt. “I think it’s a great idea. We’re a not-for-profit working on a small budget, so every little bit helps.”
She said she is currently working with students from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst to revamp the GBA’s website.
“The board is also tossing around ideas about how to market Greenfield based on the new master plan,” said von Schmidt. “Greenfield is currently devoid of a brand. We need to have a brand.”
She said the GBA is working with others to come up with ideas about how Greenfield can sell itself.
“We’re sustainable and green, but we need more when it comes to tourism,” said von Schmidt.