Grant Smith, owner of GST Liquors in Dolores, has donated $10,000 to help keep the Cortez Cultural Center afloat as it wades through its budget crisis.
It’s the first sizable donation the nonprofit has received since it announced July that a sale of its iconic building at 25 Market St. in downtown Cortez and slimmed-down refocused programming was incredibly likely, as the organization has been operating at a deficit for the past seven years.
After a heated public meeting on Aug. 10, the board confirmed during an interview with the Dolores Star that it would to take the sale of the building and plaza off the table for now and rework what programming it can keep with the current staff numbers it has.
One of the proposed plans was to sell the building and plaza and build new program around its other physical asset, Hawkins Preserve.
Board president Lee Bergman thanked GST Liquors and said he hopes more businesses or individuals with the means get involved with the cultural center, whether it’s financially or serving on the board.
The funds will be used to help clot the monthly deficit the center faces, while allowing the board, volunteers and executive director Jeff Weinmeister to freshen up programming and make the center sustainable without selling its assets.
“What’s really important to note here, is that the community has asked to keep the building open and programming they’d like to see kept on. What we need is the folks with the means to step up with whatever they can, whether it’s financial or otherwise,” said Bergman.
Smith and GST Liquors manager Linda Johnson said they hoped their donation would help the center during its tough time and encourage other businesses to contribute.
Johnson also serves as vice-president of the Dolores Chamber of Commerce and says she and the organization recognize what an important institution the Cultural Center is to Montezuma County.
“The Cultural Center is great for the economy, and we like to support our community and give back. Being apart of the community is very important to us,” said Johnson. “Being such a small community, you need to be apart of it or its going to fail.”