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Ren Brandon to cut music and culture funds, refocus on development

Renaissance Brandon will refocus its efforts on property development opportunities like this one, on Princess Avenue downtown.

GRANT HAMILTON/BRANDON SUN Enlarge Image

Renaissance Brandon will refocus its efforts on property development opportunities like this one, on Princess Avenue downtown.

Renaissance Brandon has announced two significant changes to their mandate in advance of the completion of the organization’s three-year strategic plan.

Effectively immediately, Renaissance Brandon, will no longer fund and coordinate the Seasonal Concert Series, which included the long standing Wednesdays by the Fountain and Caroller’s in the Park events.  Both of these programming events were largely funded annually by the province of Manitoba through Renaissance Brandon’s project funding.

"These two events have attracted thousands of people to downtown and Princess Park annually over the years," Ren Brandon chairman Shaun Cameron said.

"Funding the concert series has achieved what it was intended to; attract people of all walks of life to downtown Brandon and strengthen their connection and comfort with the downtown. With this goal achieved, Renaissance Brandon will focus all of our resources on re-development projects and opportunities within the HUB at this time."

Downtown development specialist Braden Pilling said the city operates a similar programming function with Music in the Park that hosts musical performances in Princess Park.

Renaissance Brandon is also terminating their Arts and Culture Grant program, which offered up to $2,500 for entities that operated special programming events in the Downtown HUB.  These events ranged from the summer multicultural festival in Princess Park to Rock the Block, to the annual Earth Day celebration. 

"The Brandon Neighbourhood Renewal Corporation offers a community grant for programming and we hope this valuable service will continue to fund cultural events in downtown Brandon," Pilling said.

"These are difficult choices to make as an organization", explains Mr. Cameron, "especially when they affect so many people. 

"Our successes to date and the resulting evolution of Renaissance Brandon has necessitated a need to focus our energy on driving redevelopment and investment in the downtown in order to maximize the return on investment of both our financial and human resources."

Ren Brandon’s strategic plan will not be finalized until a joint organization review with the Brandon City Council is complete.

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Huge mistake.

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