I know all of you are as tired as I am of hearing all the gloom and doom about the economy. It’s Spring, the weather is beautiful and we should be happy. Unfortunately, that was hard to do when I ventured to Tallahassee a few weeks ago for Heritage Month activities. The legislature was in full session and there was nothing but gloom and doom. There simply is not going to be enough money to go around to support the many needs of our state. As we spoke to various legislators, they were almost apologetic. They definitely understand the importance and value of preservation, but they simply could not find a way to choose preservation over health and welfare issues. They have to make some very tough decisions this year.
Once again, the 2009 budget will not provide any money for Special Category Grants. At this point in time, we are keeping our fingers crossed that a very minimal amount of funding will be budgeted for the small matching grant programs. This would be a blessing by keeping those line items in the budget. It will be much easier to achieve increased funding next year if they are existing line items, rather than starting from scratch.
I hate to sound so depressing – there were some positive events going on during the week. Secretary of State Kurt Browning spoke at the Legislative reception hosted by the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation and Florida Association of Museums. His message was positive and uplifting. He is a very strong support of what we do! Not only did he speak to us, he visited with everyone for almost two hours at the reception!
Did you know that Mel Tillis lived in Tampa as a child? I didn’t either until he was inducted into the Florida Artist Hall of Fame during the Heritage Awards Ceremony. I have since learned that he attended Mitchell Elementary School for several years!
Well, despite the current economic situation, TPI will keep working to preserve and protect the heritage and historic resources of Tampa. As always, we appreciate your continued support of our efforts and welcome your involvement!
Submitted by Becky Clarke, TPI President