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Good things going on in Chatham County

By Amber Walsh
Posted Saturday, July 18, 2009

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Pittsboro, NC - There's often a lot of negative talk about our local surroundings, but today I'd like to discuss some "good things" that may get overlooked with all of the daily bickering & chatter.

I've had the opportunity of working with several local businesses during my time at the library. I have to say that I'm most impressed with the businesses in this community and their support for our local establishments and organizations.

Last year I spent a lot of time developing a Teen Advisory Board in our public libraries. I was amazed by all of the local support I had in undertaking this project. Several businesses have helped over the last year to provide incentives, gift certificates, books, food and entertainment, and the list goes on of donations taken in to support these young adults of our community.

Here is just some of the great businesses that have graciously supported our cause:

  • Antonella's Salon
  • McIntyre's Fine Books At Fearrington
  • Our Neighborhood School Pizzeria
  • Chapel Hill Comics
  • Chapel Hill Skate Park
  • Your Daily Grind
  • S & T Soda Shoppe
  • Andy's Cheesesteaks & Burgers
  • Downtown Grounds
  • Hardee's
  • Bojangle's
  • Chatham Marketplace

Most recently I've been working on having at least 4 children's performances offered to our community for FREE. With recent budget cuts it was a far fetched idea to think I would be able to afford the $2500 for the performances alone. So I left the idea alone thinking it would be something I could work on after the economy turned around.

Fortunately, at just the right moment in time, a member of our Friends group emailed me information about The Fearrington Ladies Arts & Crafts Club saying they were giving mini grants to local non profit groups, and encouraged me to apply for one if I needed funds for anything. On a whim, I responded with my "big ideas" and was gratefully awarded part of the funds requested, and referred to The Women of Fearrington, who were also interested in giving larger grants to causes like mine. After working with our Friends of the Library we put together a grant proposal for the rest of the funds needed, and that too was granted. Our Friends of the Library in Pittsboro & Goldston both donated funds to the cause and before I knew it all of the shows were paid for. It seemed to all come together at just the right moment. For a bit anyways.

Because of budget restraints, our normal venue was going to be closing on Fridays during the summer, which left us with no venue for our shows that were now completely funded. After weeks of getting no where with phone calls to churches, parks, and any building big enough in Chatham County to hold a crowd, I began to feel like our ship was sinking.

A patron had suggested I call Chatham Mills Center to see if we could have the shows in the large space that was used for the Mardi Gras Party. This was a great idea that I jumped on immediately, unfortunately our budget did not have funds set aside for venue space so I was weary of the possibility.

I spoke with Stephanie from The Chatham Mills Center and agreed to meet with her later in the week to look at the space. As we met I explained our dilemma of no budgeted funds for a venue and they agreed to work with us in any way they could, even though they normally rent the space for $2000 a day.
A few days later Stephanie called to inform me that Chatham Mills Center thought that the programs I wanted to offer were of such value and opportunity for our community that they wanted to donate the space for our programs. We had scheduled four shows here, at $2000 a day, you don't have to be a mathematician to see they've donated up to $8,000 worth of venue space to our library, children and our community.

It all started with an idea I thought never to be possible. By sharing my ideas and working with our community we were able to make it a reality.

I am very proud to be apart of this great community. You can bicker back and forth all day about what you'd like. But this story is proof that when we all work together great things can be achieved in our community for the better.

A BIG thank you goes out to all of our supporters; businesses and individuals alike for helping to make Chatham County a great place to live.

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