The Champaign County Preservation Alliance Board met recently via teleconferencing and following discussion voted to cancel the upcoming 28th Annual Historic Home and Garden Tour. The tour was to be held June 27-28 in Urbana and preparations were in the works.
The decision was based on the COVID-19 virus situation and the uncertainty as to when the “social distancing” and “stay-at-home” orders would be reversed. In addition to health concerns, the time required to organize the tour was becoming limited. A tour takes months of planning and although the committee is experienced at their tasks, it would be difficult to schedule 250-300 volunteers on short notice.
Some volunteers already had decided they could not help this year due to the virus scare. In addition, a few of the homeowners decided they are not comfortable with people going through their homes. Organizing the publicity, gathering info for the program book, meeting with homeowners and determining room descriptions and signage for each site require a lot of time and preparation.
“We are simply running out of time,” said Sandy Gonzalez, tour chairperson. “Our sincere thanks to the homeowners who have offered to open their homes, the volunteers who have worked the homes and driven the shuttles in the past and to the dedicated tour committee who make it happen. We will see you in 2021.
“We would be unable to present the tour without the monetary support of our benefactors, sponsors, donors and program booklet advertisers, Gonzalez said. “We would be uncomfortable in approaching them considering the shutdown they have endured for months. The florists who supply the arrangements in the homes, Paradiso and Farmer’s Daughter, who sponsor the breakfasts for the homeowners, and White’s Auto Group and SVG Motors, who supply the vans for the shuttle service, all have been impacted by the work stoppage. The tour is not possible without the community’s support. We wish to thank them for their years of support and look forward to working with them next year.”
Proceeds from the tour finance the Matching Residential and Commercial Facade Grants awarded annually. The grants offer a building owner or homeowner support in the restoration of the facade of their structure. The grants are open to all Champaign County residents and have played a vital role in the preservation of downtown Urbana buildings and homes throughout the county.
“If an alternative event cannot be arranged, the grant program will have to be postponed until 2021,” Gonzalez said. “We sincerely hope this is not the case, but it is definitely a possibility.”
Donations are always welcome and may be made on line at www.ccpapreserveohio.org or mailed to CCPA, POB 749, Urbana, Ohio, 43078.
Information from Champaign County Preservation Alliance.