Domestic violence shelter, homecoming ask for funds

PARKERSBURG – Wood County commissioners heard funding requests Monday from the Family Crisis Intervention Center and Parkersburg Homecoming.

Emily Larkins, executive director, and Sharon Lynch, representing the FCIC, submitted a request for $5,000 to purchase two new washers/dryers for the domestic violence victim shelter and a storage building.

Cyndie Wade, new homecoming festival committee president, and Randall Roberts, former homecoming chair, asked the commission for $10,000 to help defray expenses this year.

Larkins told commissioners the Violence Against Women Act is up for reauthorization.

“We are waiting to see what happens with that, which may affect our funding,” Larkins said. The shelter relies on grants, federal/state funding, local contributions and money from fundraisers to operate.

Acts of domestic violence are on the rise in the 8-county area covered by the shelter. Statistics show in December 2011 the local shelter provided 69 nights while in December 2012, that number was up to 351 nights for clients, Larkins said, noting at least 50 percent of the arrests in the area are due to domestic violence-related issues.

“The two washers and dryers we have now are in constant use, at least 10 years old and in need of replacement. We also receive donations of items from generous local groups and churches, and we need a place to store those items,” Larkins said.

Last year the commission contributed funds to the FCIC Kids First Program, but does not provide an annual funding contribution to the nonprofit organization.

“We are going into the budget in March. We hope the community responds to your needs, but we will place your request on the rolling agenda so we can bring it up for discussion again,” Commissioner Blair Couch said.

Commissioner Wayne Dunn told the FCIC representatives he would donate a used washer/dryer unit to the shelter.

Homecoming officials said the Saturday night fireworks are a highlight of the fest, and organizers asked the commissioners for permission to again launch the fireworks from Fort Boreman Park. Commissioner Steve Gainer told the officials they would need to apply for the proper permits.

“We are looking at having more water activities and events, possibly a ski show this year. We want to take full advantage of the new park,” Wade said. “We used to have a water show and we want to bring it back.”

“It’s a great location down there and we want to use it. We’d like to bring the sternwheelers back too,” Roberts said.

Roberts noted homecoming, in the past, had a deficit but now has been able to come back with an $8,000 balance. He said the festival’s total budget is more than $165,000.

“Have you considered setting up entry points and just asking for donations to help with expenses,” Commissioner Steve Gainer asked.

“It’s very hard with such a large area to do that, but we do walk around with collection buckets and we have had a central donation point in the past and gotten some funds from that,” Roberts said.

“We may have to look more seriously at what we donate to. We want to maintain the quality of life in our community, but if the economy remains tight and revenue stays flat, we may have to take another look,” Dunn said.

Couch told homecoming organizers to submit their request in writing.

“We are coming into budget time. Our commitment to homecoming remains strong, just put your request for a specific dollar amount in writing. We will begin work on the new budget in March, then in June, when we are working on our ending balance, we may be able to help in some way at that time,” Couch said.

Homecoming also receives 2.5 percent of the county hotel/motel tax revenue.