The City Council this afternoon approved an award of $10,000 for the Niagara Falls Blues Festival, which will be held downtown next month.
The Dyster administration initially proposed awarding $40,000 to the event. That was put on hold when Mayor Paul A. Dyster pulled the item from the July 7 meeting agenda after Councilman Andrew P. Touma wanted to reduce the funding level to $10,000.
This afternoon, Touma, along with Council Chairman Charles A. Walker and Councilwoman Kristen M. Grandinetti, voted in favor of providing the funding. Councilmen Robert A. Anderson Jr. and Glenn A. Choolokian voted against the award.
Choolokian today said the festival's been successful in previous years without receiving any city funding. He added that he believes some people forget about the dire financial situation the city faced in recent years when casino funding dried up because of the dispute between the state and the Seneca Nation of Indians.
Walker said he sees the award as an investment by the city.
"We're investing in our own city," he said. "We're investing in our own tourism market."
The money comes from a fund balance in the city's tourism fund, according to the Council resolution.
The free festival (website) will run from Sept. 11 through 14 on Old Falls Street.