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Boosting the Bonner Blast

It’s not even June yet, but the members of Downtown Bonner Inc. definitely have July on their mind.

As they try to organize the Bonner Blast and gather donations to cover the entire cost of the at least $6,000 fireworks display, they have once again asked the city for a larger donation.

DBI member Jeanine Gallagher asked the Bonner Springs City Council at its May 12 meeting to consider a $2,000 donation. Council member Jack Knight tried to make a motion on the subject, but Mayor Jeff Harrington reminded him that would be out of order; the council doesn’t introduce new topics not already on the council’s agenda, so the council will discuss it in a workshop prior to Tuesday’s regular meeting.

The topic of how much the city should contribute has been a bit of a sore spot for the past few years. The city has contributed to the display with funds allotted to the Convention and Tourism Committee since 2006, with contributions varying from $1,000 to $2,000. This year and in 2013, the city budgeted a $1,000 contribution.

Last year, the council approved donating an additional $1,000 to DBI for the fireworks after DBI requested the city fund an additional $1,500 for the display — on June 10, since contributions to the display had been slow. The increased display contribution had to come out of funds set aside for special projects targeted for purchasing street light banners, which the committee then was not be able to afford.

Because this issue seems to come up again and again, I remember John “Jack” Helin, city manager, asking the council about it when they discussed the 2014 city budget last year. He said budget time was the time to decide how much they wanted to contribute to the Bonner Blast, so there wouldn’t be a question or last-minute rearranging of funds the next year.

The council discussed how the city would contribute $1,000 to the Bonner Blast and $750 to Marble Day. No one argued for the city spending more on fireworks. The city informed DBI that $1,000 was all that was budgeted.

So now the request comes again. Last year, the Convention and Tourism Committee supported using $1,000 more of their funds for the display, but this year they do not. All six members voted “no,” saying that the funds would be better spent on longer lasting items like signage or banners.

City staff also argued there is a greater indication of increased traffic for Bonner Springs businesses at events like Marble Day, but fireworks attendees tend to park their cars for the show and then leave.

City staff is suggesting that if the council wants to increase its donation, it come out of the council’s budget for professional development and travel — leaving just $633 in that fund.

I am putting up a poll on our website — you can share your opinion about how much you think the city should contribute each year. The DBI volunteers that organize Bonner Blast spend a lot of time going door to door do a great job of putting together a show that is likely viewed by thousands, and we’ll have a story soon reminding readers how they can contribute. Is it something for which the city should give more monetary support?

Speaking of June 28, it is shaping up to be a very busy day. Of course, there’s the City Band concert preceding the Bonner Blast, and the Bonner Springs Arts Alliance is planning its Festival of the Arts that day from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the downtown area. Now, Flip KC is planning an event to complement the art festival.

Flip KC allows multiple vendors to sell renovated furniture and other crafty items on the second and fourth weekends of the month, mimicking many similar businesses in the West Bottoms. On the same day as the arts festival, the business will expand from the old Masonic Hall upstairs at 300 Oak St. out into the street and parking lot behind the building from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Vendors will bring their booths

I’ll be putting more information about all of the events set for June 28 in the paper in the next couple of weeks.

Other news of note from the city:

• The new 30,000 square-foot Salvation Army store is set to open this weekend (May 30-31) in the former Goodwill space on the southwest corner of Kansas Avenue and Kansas Highway 7. Their hours of operation will be 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday – Saturday. The store will have seven full-time and 14 part-time employees.

• The Bonner Springs Ford dealership will close on the sale of the dealership in mid-June to Premier Automotive of Bonner Springs KS LLC dba Victory Ford.

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