The Independence Fund is moving forward with plans to move the Lt. Dan Week 4's headline event to Charleston, even though it will mean a loss of funding from two local governments.
Last week, fund founder Steven Danyluk said Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band will perform at The Citadel instead of Beaufort's Waterfront Park on Sept. 14. Although other events associated with the weekend will still be in Beaufort, County Council's Finance Committee voted Monday to request the fund return $13,900 given in September from accommodations taxes.
"Since the concert isn't going to be in town, it isn't going to be in Beaufort, the justification for the money doesn't apply," said Councilman Brian Flewelling, who made the motion to revoke the funding.
The accommodations tax, often referred to as a "bed tax," is a levy on overnight lodging to fund programs promoting tourism and attracting visitors.
In its first three years, the concert has drawn thousands of visitors , who rent hotel rooms and spend money in restaurants and stores. Without it, Flewelling does not expect that same kind of return in the community, though he said he respects the Independence Fund's cause.
The committee that makes recommendations about the city of Beaufort's share of accommodations taxes also decided this week that Lt. Dan Week 4 should not be funded with a bed-tax grant. It had intended to suggest that City Council contribute $5,000.
Meanwhile, plans to hold the concert at The Citadel are incomplete.
Details are still being worked out, according to Citadel spokeswoman Charlene Gunnells. However, the contract is expected to be signed soon, and more information will be available at that time, she said.
Danyluk said moving the concert to Charleston will give the event exposure to a larger market and, ultimately, more money to help wounded veterans.
A kick-off event, "A Celebration for a Cause," is slated for May 1 at The Citadel, according to a release from the Independence Fund, with combat veteran and photographer Stacy Pearsall, who was wounded twice and received a medical discharge. Last year, she attended the retreat for veterans that is part of Lt. Dan Week, according to a release.
This year, 150 veterans are expected to attend the six-day retreat Sept. 9 to 15 at Palm Key resort in Beaufort County. Transportation will be provided to the concert in Charleston.
Danyluk said all other events besides the Saturday concert and the Friday Vetpalooza Military Tribute Concert, which will likely not occur, will remain as planned. Lt. Dan Week 4 events include fisherman O'Neill Williams filming a segment of "O'Neill Outside," a silent auction and banquet, fishing, golf and the Independence Ride and 5K Run.
Follow reporter Erin Moody at twitter.com/IPBG_Erin.