By CATHY MOUNCE, Register Staff Writer
The North Texas Medical Center (NTMC) Balloon Festival and updates on the Medal of Honor Park were on the agenda at the May 20 Gainesville Economic Development Corporation (GEDC) meeting.
Kristi Rigsby, NTMC Director, Community Outreach and Development, reported that 25 hot air balloons owners or operators have registered to participate in the upcoming September festival sponsored by NTMC Foundation.
A variety of balloon styles are expected to be at the festival.
“Nine shaped balloons, two corporation and 14 basic balloon teams will be on hand for the festival as well as a kid zone and main stage featuring entertainment that is still being determined,” Rigsby said.
She added she expects attendance at this year’s event to exceed last year’s numbers.
“Last year was such a success with over 5,000 tickets sold and we are anticipating to sell over 8,500 tickets this year,” she said. “McDonalds is on board this year as a sponsor. They had such a crowd last year that it was almost a serious problem for them. This year they will be ready.”
GEDC Executive Director Kent Sharp said the GEDC has approved $5,000 in funding for the balloon festival.
Also on hand for the meeting was Medal of Honor committee member Don Pettigrew.
Pettigrew discussed the building fund for the MOH park which is now in development in Gainesville.
“ With cash on hand and matching funds, we have $315,000 available on a proposed $415,000 budget,” he said.
Pettigrew also said that the organization has sold 34 of its Adopt-A-Hero bricks to be placed in the park walkway.
Pettigrew just returned from a MOH Foundation sponsored event in Bentonville, Ark. where the Foundation expressed interest in being on the board for the Gainesville MOH event each year.
In other business, Sharp said the GEDC sales tax revenue was on track for the year to surpass budgetary goals set. With the budget set for one million, thus far $892,223 or 89 percent has been collected for 2013 with fiscal year ending in September.