One of the top local stories we covered on WWNC last week was word that in an effort to cut costs, The Asheville City Council may decide to cease funding for the city's annual Bele Chere street festival. As I understand it, this years Bele Chere is still a "go" at the end of July, but next years festival (summer 2014) may be in jeopardy. I'm new to Asheville but have heard tell of Bele Chere even before I arrived. Taking place at midsummer, drawing thousands of people to downtown city streets at the height of the tourist season seems to me a good thing. I realize it takes a lot of money to orchestrate a festival like Bele Chere, but am wondering if the boon to business has been measured against what the city lays out. If business cash register receipts don’t quite hold pace to the costs incurred, whats to be said for the benefit to reputation such an event provides. No longer would Asheville be able to say "Each summer we hold our Bele Chere street festival"… and so it would come to pass that we have one less thing to offer. It is an event that seems to be characteristically "Asheville". To erode such an institution to save budget dollars in a given fiscal year shortchanges the cumulative, long range effect of reputation and tradition. It's hard to argue with a half million dollar expenditure, but we have some healthy businesses in our area who no doubt benefit from the fact Bele Chere is part of our fabric. Perhaps they can be persuaded to come together, contribute, and at least make up part of the difference in cost. It just seems a shame to do away with what has been a successful and cherished tradition !