The president of the Ormond Beach Historical Society explains why the renewal of ECHO matters.
By: Jerry Lampe, president of the Ormond Beach Historical Society
My colleagues and I at the Ormond Beach Historical Society are thankful for the ECHO grant, which the city of Ormond has received from Volusia County to renovate and preserve the exterior of the historical MacDonald House located beachside in museum row next to the Casements and nearby the Ormond Beach Memorial Art Museum. The county provides ECHO grants to finance “acquisition, restoration, construction, or improvement of facilities to be used for environmental, cultural, historical, and outdoor recreational purposes." Since 2000, it has provided grants to numerous institutions that make Ormond Beach a residence of choice and has had an enormous impact on the whole area at times when limited resources have been available for such purposes.
In challenging times, such as the current pandemic and resulting economic decline, the funds given by the state of Florida and the federal government for cultural and historical purposes are often eliminated or severely cut back. That is the case this year, which makes the county’s grant programs more essential than ever.
Unfortunately, cultural and historical facilities, educational programs, exhibits, events, and other activities are perceived as being “intangibles” by some government officials when, in fact, their results are very “tangible.” Indeed, they are demanded and appreciated by our residents and visitors because they add to their quality of life and contribute to the economic prosperity of the area. These facts are especially true during a pandemic when most people are seeking meaningful activities to mitigate the boredom of spending some much time at home. Many of our local organizations are providing virtual opportunities to view such programs on-line, including the Historical Society’s exhibits, such as “Women of Ormond,” the new Smithsonian traveling exhibit on women’s suffrage at the MacDonald House and articles on History Happenings about the rich history of our city. Later, as the virus subsides, they will be able to attend in-person once again the very popular Saturday morning lectures and social events at the Anderson Price Memorial Building.
For all of the above reasons, we urge you, the citizens of Volusia County, to raise your voices for ECHO and also the county's Cultural Community Grant that provides operational funds required for keeping our organizations alive during lean times. Vote for the renewal of ECHO is November!