Downtown committee now tax-free

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 19, 2006

FERRIDAY &8212; At long last, the Ferriday Downtown Revitalization Committee got an identity Wednesday.

&8220;According to the IRS, we exist,&8221; Chairperson Anna Ferguson said.

&8220;Did we bring the champagne?&8221; committee member Teresa Dennis said. &8220;Shouldn&8217;t we be celebrating?&8221;

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The euphoria was ignited by news that the Internal Revenue Service had approved the committee&8217;s request to become a 501 (c)(3) tax-exempt organization.

As a 501 (c)(3), the committee can also receive tax-deductible contributions from supporters.

The designation also allows the committee to pursue federal, state and foundation grants as well as entry into various community development districts.

With the first hurdle behind it, the group turned toward the future.

&8220;What we need now is a project,&8221; Ferguson said. &8220;Our project had been to get the designation letter so we could get a project.&8221;

Members agreed to come back next month with small, manageable project ideas to help the group put reintroduce itself to the community.

Earlier in the meeting, Ferguson invited Lisa Smith, director of the Concordia Animal Welfare Shelter, to speak.

As one of three downtown business owners on the committee &8212; Ferriday Mayor Gene Allen and Ferguson are the others &8212; Smith told the group about her efforts to help educate the public on the importance of treating animals humanely.

And while it&8217;s not always easy, Smith said she&8217;s optimistic.

&8220;But it takes everyone working together like you are,&8221; she said. &8220;I look forward to being a part of it.&8221;

At the end of the meeting, Ferguson and the board accepted the resignation of Guylynn Boles, the group&8217;s secretary and treasurer.

Dennis volunteered to fill the role and the group voted unanimously to accept her offer.