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No grant, but council looks to help EMSF

Unwilling to provide an outright grant of $5,000 to the Elmira Maple Syrup Festival, Woolwich council hasn’t completely turned its back on the organization’s request for financial assistance.

Committee chair Cheryl Peterson addressed councillors this week, making a pitch for help to offset the cost of rental fees associated with the new Woolwich Memorial Centre. Having in the past had low-cost use of the former Elmira Raceway buildings – the old paddock and grandstand buildings, now demolished – the organization wants to host the MegaMutts dog show and its pancake-flipping contest in the Dan Synder Memorial Arena. But charges in excess of $4,000 are  prohibitive, said Peterson.

For the past two years, the dog show has been simply a demonstration held outdoors. In previous years, when it was held indoors, the show netted about $2,000 for the festival.

Because the 2010 festival will be held early (Mar. 27), the township could forego as much as $6,700 in ice rentals by making the arena available for the EMSF, which would be expected to pay rental fees of $1,600, plus setup costs of more than $2,000, said director of recreation and facilities Larry Devitt.

Coun. Mark Bauman, noting this was a “unique year” because of where Easter falls on the calendar, said the township could look at an arrangement for next year, when the festival’s usual April date would be less likely to conflict with arena rentals.

Rather than simply sending Peterson away empty-handed, however, councillors asked staff to work with the festival committee to see what accommodations could be made this year.

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