Support needed to bring cruise to Roseville in 2013

Roseville Heritage Foundation seeking donations and volunteers

By: Sara Kandel | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published March 22, 2013

 The fundraising committee for a 2013 Roseville cruise meets weekly at Ram’s Horn to update their books and develop new fundraising strategies.

The fundraising committee for a 2013 Roseville cruise meets weekly at Ram’s Horn to update their books and develop new fundraising strategies.

Photo by Sara Kandel

ROSEVILLE — The Roseville Heritage Foundation is inching closer to its goal of bringing a Gratiot cruise to the city, and it looks like they might succeed in 2013.

They’ve already set a date — Sunday, July 28 — and foundation members are working with the city and in committees to focus on various aspects of the event.

“Last year, we came this close,” said Roseville Councilman and foundation Vice President Bill Shoemaker, pinching his fingers together in the air.

“This year, we’re further ahead, but still there’s so much to do. Our main focus at this point is to get as much sponsor money as possible.”

As of March 18, they raised more than $27,000 in donations, sponsorships and business commitments. They need to raise about $23,000 more to make the cruise they’ve been dreaming of a reality.

It’s an expensive endeavor. They’re responsible for paying for public safety, traffic control, public works and insurance for the one-day, four-mile long (eight miles total) cruise that will span the city from 10 Mile to 14 Mile.

Their goal of $50,000 will cover all of that, as well as the cost of VIP parties, T-shirt sales and other event-day activities and fundraisers that could reel in enough dough to cover much, if not all, of the cost of a 2014 cruise. 

Shoemaker chairs the fundraising committee. Each week, the five members of the committee gather at Ram’s Horn in Roseville for updates on where they stand and to work on fundraising goals.

Earlier this year, they divvied up sections of Gratiot and made a personal visit to each business along the eight miles of cruise strip in hopes of obtaining local business sponsors.

A few businesses filled out commitment forms — Dooley’s, Continental Lanes, Highway Auto, United Auto Parts, Apollo Lanes, RCO Engineering and Gratiot Auto Center — while others have hesitated to commit to a certain amount or just turned them down flat.

“We have some standing commitments, so we are hopeful,” said Carla Reeb, who sits on the fundraising committee. “We are starting to tell people we need the commitment papers by April, so that gives people a little more leeway to see how much they can support us, and gives us enough time to collect before going before the city for final approval.”

They’ve pursued corporate sponsorships, too. Budweiser distributor Petitpren offered the foundation a $500 deposit toward the cruise.

Big donations are a big help, but they happily accept and appreciate the smaller ones, too. In fact, Roseville bar owner Dee Lindroth has a theory that, with enough community support, those small donations could be enough to pay for the entire event.

“Little amounts add up to big amounts,” said Lindroth, owner of Grady’s Lounge. “If half the people in the city sent us a donation of a few dollars, I think we’d have enough. Every donation helps, and they do add up.”

Testing her theory, the group has placed sponsor cards at various local businesses, where, for a minimum of $1, anyone can be recognized as a cruise sponsor at the establishment, which will display the cards through cruise day.

Lindroth has sold dozens of the sponsor cards so far. They’re proudly displayed on the back wall of Grady’s. She’s hoping to cover all the walls in the bar with them before cruise day.

“We’ve sold probably 150 for $1, $2 and $5 donations, and each one of them is great, but look here, this one is for $20 from Tri-County Beverage,” Lindroth said. “Isn’t that such a nice donation for such a good cause?”

They need more than just funds to make the cruise a reality. Just as important, they need volunteers to work the event.

“We are going to need a couple hundred volunteers because, if you think about it, we have eight miles to cover,” said Judith Warren-Wright, chair for the volunteer committee. “So far, we only have five or six that have actually signed up. We’ll need a minimum of 250, although I’ll take more if I can get them.”

Volunteers are needed to cover a variety of tasks and services, ranging from security detail to signage, food service, traffic control and everything in between.

“I’m hoping we can get local Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops to volunteer for our (Environmental) Teams,” Warren-Wright said. “They’ll be responsible for picking up debris and trash, and as there will be lots of returnables, any organization that volunteers for the E-Teams can take back the returnables and use the money they receive from them for their organization.”

“All the volunteers will have time to enjoy the cruise; we aren’t going to abuse anyone out there,” Warren-Wright said. “All the volunteers will get fed and have beverages provided for them.”

Only halfway to their funding goal and still in need of hundreds of volunteers, the Roseville Heritage Foundation has its work cut out for it, but the members have taken all the major steps to make the cruise a reality, and they remain positive that this is the year it will happen.

“We have come such a long way, and we have such a key focus with the city now, which we didn’t have in the past, so short of an act of God, I would say the (cruise) is going to happen this year,” Warren-Wright said.

For more information on the Roseville Heritage Foundation or to register a car, become a sponsor, donate or sign up to volunteer, call (586) 404-9409 or visit www.rosevillegratiot