On June 9 and 10 the Citizens for a Vibrant Community sponsored the second annual Art on the River event in the city of Port Huron. Here are statistics. Forty eight vendors participated. Thirty one bands performed. The popular Michigan Traveling Vietnam Veterans Memorial was present. Several thousand people attended. One more thing, it didn’t cost the taxpayers a dime. In fact according to CVC president Trina Avedisian they finished with money bank. Perhaps more impressive, the event was entirely underwritten by the business community and the vendors.
In an era when communities are laying off teachers, police and fire personnel, Art on the River is a textbook case for how local events could and perhaps should be run and funded. During the era of prosperity communities pumped tax dollars into areas well beyond core government services. Almost every groups had their hand out looking for some taxpayer funding. In the era austerity, when we can barely cover the costs of core government services, it might be a good time to rethink our priorities.