A Grand Forks musician is being told to approach the Downtown Business Association (DBA) before city hall would consider funding his street piano project.
City council funded the same project last year through a $500 grant to the DBA, staff explained at the city’s committee of the whole meeting, Monday, June 7.
Joining the meeting via Zoom, Nathan Vogel then asked council “for around $1,000” to build a tin-roofed shelter above the city’s public piano near the northwest corner of Market Avenue, at 3rd Street. Vogel and fellow volunteers installed the piano on May 10 as part of the Boundary Street Pianos Project’s (BSPP) mission “to brighten up various areas and communities in Grand Forks and the Boundary” by providing “safe, playable pianos for all,” he said.
BSPP is not a registered non-profit, leading Mayor Brian Taylor to remind Vogel that, “the city has a real problem funding something through a private request.”
Vogel replied that the BSPP does hold a community account with the Grand Forks Credit Union, adding that he hopes to bring the project to “full (non-profit) status by next year. BSPP’s community account had recently taken in around $500 in community donations, he said.
Coun. and DBA-liaison Christine Thompson put forward a motion at council’s regular meeting suggesting that Vogel first approach the DBA for funding. She would ask council to consider granting up to $500 to the DBA if the association brought her a resolution to support Vogel’s project.
“I don’t want to set a precedent for other non-profit groups or un-organized groups to be coming to council for money,” she told council.
Coun. Chris Moslin, who attended chambers via Zoom, opposed the motion. “I don’t mind funneling money through the DBA (again),” he said.
“I want it to be clear that at least this counsellor is willing to contribute,” Moslin added, speaking against a virtual backdrop showing the Market Avenue piano
The motion was approved, with Mayor Taylor and Couns. Thompson, Everett Baker, Zak Eburne-Stoodley and Kathy Korolek voting in favour, versus Coun. Moslin, who voted against.