Tom Ferguson, representing the DEDC, presents a Community Grant check for $5,196 to Irene Delgado, executive director of the Dumas Downtown Association, Tuesday morning.  The grant helps pay for benches and planters like the one in the foreground that the DDA has installed in downtown Dumas as part of an effort to revive the area as a business, entertainment, and shopping district.  Left to right:  Kathie Fuston, Travis Gibbons, Danielle Arias, Sandra Witt, Arturo Ortega, Irene Delgado, Saul Mares, Jayme Clark, Tom Ferguson, and Ashley Wiswell.

Representatives of the Dumas Economic Development Corporation (DEDC) were on Dumas Avenue Tuesday to present a Community Grant check for $5,196 to Irene Delgado, executive director of the Dumas Downtown Association (DDA).  The money was awarded to help pay for the benches and planters that the DDA recently installed at various points along Dumas Avenue.  The Community Grants are 50-50 matching grants.  To match the Community Grant, Delgado said the DDA received an in-kind donation from Cultivate, a local gardening center.  The owners of Cultivate have supplied the plants for all of the planters for free and will continue to maintain them and change them to match the changing seasons, all for free.

Volunteers working with the DDA installed the benches and planters back in August during the downtown clean-up that preceded the first Sip and Shop event.  Sip and Shop was supposed to combine shopping, socializing, eating, and entertainment in an effort to bring people downtown and promote the downtown area as a shopping destination.   The event was supposed to coincide with the opening of the Toppled Turtle micro-brewery in the old Phillips and Son building on  the corner of Dumas Avenue and 7th Street.  The Topped Turtle was not ready, but other businesses offered alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks to customers, and the event started off strongly.  A half hour in, however, a deluge of rain chased everyone away.

Delgado did not give up.  She says Sip and Shop will return October 10 from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm.  It will feature all of the same vendors from before with a few new ones added in.  As before, the vendors will be set up and offering their wares in the parking lot north of the Toppled Turtle.  Businesses along Dumas Avenue will be open offering bargains and drinks.  Food trucks will be located on 7th Street -- closed for the occasion -- offering a variety of cuisines.  Roman Carbajal, a singer who recently performed at the Ears and Beers event downtown, will be back entertaining shoppers at Sip and Shop.

Delgado is watching weather reports and hoping for the best.  "I love the rain, and we need it, but I hope it waits at least until 9:00 pm when we are done," she said.  "I really hope this next event that everyone who came out will come out again."

The DEDC awards Community Grants to local non-profit organizations to help fund projects that improve the quality of life for residents of Moore County.  Among those having received grants are the Moore County Senior Center for kitchen appliances, the Moore County YMCA for exercise equipment, and American Legion Post 224 for construction at the organization's firing range, among many others.  The DEDC has awarded more than $400 million in Community Grants since the program's inception in 2002.

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