- Associated Press - Sunday, December 13, 2015

MONROE, La. (AP) - Members of a group dedicated to improving the Monroe Civic Center say they will pursue requests for start-up money from the city despite being turned down by the City Council.

The council last week rejected a proposed a cooperative endeavor agreement between with the group called Supporters of the Monroe Civic Center.

The News-Star reports (https://tnsne.ws/1NNlABF ) that the agreement requested $3,000 in funding from the Civic Center’s budget.

About $1,000 would go toward filing fees for 501c3 nonprofit designation. The remainder would go toward hosting fundraising events for the Civic Center.

Opponents said they needed more information on the proposal. Some residents asked why a support group was needed for a city department.

Civic Center Director Charles Thomas said he intends to petition council members on the proposal and hopes to bring the measure up again. He said he made the request because of the work of concerned volunteers at the complex.

“This group can be a big help to make improvements,” he said.

Thomas said the group could aid the complex by seeking to attract donors for enhancement projects to the building, constructed in 1965.

He said the organization would function like other fundraising arms, such as those with the Masur Museum and the Louisiana Purchase Gardens & Zoo. Those facilities have groups that host various events to financially support their operation.

Friends of the Monroe Civic Center was created in January 2014. In October of that year, the group switched to its current name. An eight-member board has met monthly to discuss ideas for the Civic Center complex since its inception.

“We would like to upgrade flooring and buy chairs for the arena. We’d also look to update the fountain in front of the complex,” said board member Linda Trimble.

Other efforts would maintain upkeep of the site and assist in promotion of events.

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