The Electric Building Centennial Gala originally scheduled for the evening of Saturday, Oct. 19, has been postponed. The event was to be held at the Masonic Temple. The “Light up the Night — Light up the Town” Gala has been rescheduled for Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014.
“The decision was a difficult one, but it was concluded that expending public funds and private goodwill and resources on the effort at this time is not in the best interest of the community. I personally regret any confusion or inconvenience this last minute decision might cause. I apologize to the City of Aberdeen, Grays Harbor PUD, the Aberdeen Revitalization Movement, and interested citizens of Aberdeen and Grays Harbor for this last minute decision,” one of the principal organizers, Brian Little, wrote in an email Thursday.
The City of Aberdeen put up $2,500 and the PUD $250 to sponsor the community event. The public funds are dedicated to the evening gala and a free “open house” to be held earlier in the day and aimed at educating the public about Aberdeen history generally, the proposed downtown Historic District and energy conservation specifically, and the likely benefits of building a heritage tourism industry, said Little.
Morck Properties also donated $1,000 in private funds toward the overall effort, as did a couple of others, he said.
Receipts from the gala, to be raised through $100 per couple suggested donations, are to go through Aberdeen Revitalization Movement, a private 501-C-3 non-profit, founded in 1992. Any funds raised are committed “for the explicit purpose of hiring a consultant to prepare the nomination forms for listing the (Electric) building on the National Register, to support the formation of a (renewed) Main Street organization, and to preserve Aberdeen’s heritage,” said Little.
An earlier version of the Main Street program did not take off as well as hoped. Reviving the state downtown improvement funding program was suggested by city consultants who are drafting the city’s Historic Preservation Plan.
“As of today only $200 of the public funds entrusted to the ragtag group of citizens have been dispersed. I personally will repay the City the $200 should circumstances arise that the funds can’t carry over until the Feb. 1, 2014 date,” Little said.
In organizing the gala, Little is acting as a private citizen with “Ladies of Aberdeen”, a Facebook group of Aberdonians and others who want to improve the city. He also heads the Planning Commission, a volunteer position for the city.
The Electric Building is 100 years old this year and is owned by Kevin Moore and Michelle Beerbower.