By Sam Metry
Clinton County Chatter Staff Reporter
ST. JOHNS — The $20.8 million budget for Clinton County was adopted on Oct. 27. One notable thing that sticks out in the budget is an increase from $158,360 to $165,368 in the “Recreation and Culture” portion of the budget.
The entire $7,000 increase is going directly to the Parks and Recreation budget for Clinton County. Things that draw funds from the Recreation and Culture portion of the budget are the Historical Commission, Library Board and the 4-H Fair.
“The main uses of the money go towards keeping our parks well-maintained and servicing the (maintenance) equipment,” said chair of the Parks and Greenspace Commission Chuck Nelson.
The Parks and Greenspace commission was founded in 2000 and is in charge of the six county parks, Nelson said.
Another portion of the Recreation and Culture budget goes towards the 4-H Fair that is held at the St. Johns fairgrounds every year.
The 4-H Fair is part of Clinton County’s Michigan State University Extension, said Clinton County Clerk Diane Zuker. The fair includes pig shows, a tractor pull, and a teen dance. This year the fair lasted six days.
4-H is the largest youth development organization in the world and works with land grant universities, in Clinton County’s case they work with Michigan State, to give opportunities to the youth that they normally wouldn’t have, Nelson said.
The last two things that draw from the Recreation and Culture budget are the Library Board and the Historical Commission, Nelson said. In total it takes $1,800 from the budget.
Towns that emphasize culture and set aside funds for it are making strides in more than adding culture to their town, Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management Professor at Clemson University Dr. Lawrence R. Allen said, via email.
“Culture is extremely important for small towns,” said Allen, via email. “Historically, the improvement of culture within a society, also improves the society as a whole. The Renaissance is the best example of that.”
Other side effects of having a good culture in a town is that local businesses will probably do better, Allen said, via email.
“If a town is having fair, there are probably going to be local vendors at the fair selling their product,” said Allen, via email. “That will increase the revenue, plus open up their product to consumers who may not have tried it before.”
However, that wasn’t why Clinton County was hoping for when they set aside the budget, Nelson said.
“We just wanted to put on fun events like the 4-H Fair and keep our parks clean,” said Nelson. “If experts say that will help our town grow, great. But that wasn’t our motivation for it.”