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Great Lakes Article:

Editorial: Concerts could benefit economy and environment
Port Clinton News Herald
Published February 9th, 2005


Great Lakes Aid -- a planned series of concerts in U.S. and Canadian cities to raise money for environmental projects to benefit the lakes -- will be an opportunity for area residents to get involved in helping to protect Lake Erie.

And, it could be an exciting opportunity for communities to become involved in satellite support programs that feed off the core entertainment and, as a result, encourage tourism while helping the environment.

Organizers would like to see annual concerts hosted on a rotating basis by five large Great Lakes cities -- Toronto, Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago and Buffalo, N.Y. The group hopes to raise $2 million a year to improve and maintain the lakes.

The local money can be used to attract more federal and state grants, backers say.

And, the events could grow into true attractions for visitors both in the core cities and in communities that plan related events.

Picture a concert in Port Clinton or on the Islands as part of a Great Lakes Aid celebration that both promotes the great natural resource that we have and helps us to enjoy it. Simultaneous events or a series of events could put a spotlight on the environmental issues of the lakes and on the area as a tourist attraction. And they could provide seed money to help address those problems and, as a result, contribute to making the area more healthy for residents and more attractive to visitors.

Officials say it's too early to talk about what bands and artists may participate, although some performers have already expressed an interest in the project. Many entertainers are greatly interested in the environment and some undoubtedly would be willing to donate their talents for the early concerts.

If the effort gains momentum, it may no longer be necessary for entertainers to donate their talents.

The George Gund Foundation in Cleveland has given the steering committee $10,000 in seed money, which the group hopes will help it find donors and sponsors for the $100,000 likely needed to develop the first concert next year. The steering committee includes representatives from Canadian and U.S. communities and environmental groups. It plans to incorporate the foundation.

The effort will be worth watching and considering for local involvement.


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