D.A.R.E. to Ride Biker Classic canceled for 2015

D.A.R.E. to Ride Biker Classic canceled for 2015

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The 2015 D.A.R.E. to Ride Biker Classic is canceled due to budget constraints.

Corporal Kevin Foust, a D.A.R.E. officer for the Jonesboro Police Department, said the D.A.R.E. committee and Jonesboro business owners have discussed potential options over the last 3 weeks.

He said the planning phase begins as early as November of the prior year.

"We had to make a very difficult decision and we've tried to make this thing work,” said Foust.

Each year they receive money from the Arkansas Advertising and Promotion Committee.

"There were some budget cuts throughout the A&P and the money they were dispersing," Foust said. “Last year we got $35,000 and this year we were allotted $20,000."

Between the loss of that money and some sponsorships, Foust said they were "rolling the dice" to have this year's event.

Since announcing the cancellation, Foust has received numerous calls about the event an and an outpouring of support from the community.

On Monday, D.A.R.E. officials are set to meet with Jonesboro Mayor Perrin to discuss the matter. 

Proceeds from the event helped to fund the D.A.R.E. program which, among other functions, teaches grade-school children the dangers of drug abuse.

Business owners in downtown Jonesboro expressed concern about how not having the event this year could affect their business.

"Anytime you have activity here on Main Street, it helps local businesses," said Jason Moore,owner of Coaches restaurant. "If you take that away, the local businesses suffer severely."

Sarah Reeves, general manager of Skinny J's, said they've participated in the fundraiser for the last 4 years and said it's added a boost of business to the restaurant.

"It's one of your busiest days during the summer that's for sure," Reeves said. "The streets are closed down, you've got people that are here just to eat, drink and see the festivities."

She said her concern not only lies in the possible reduction of business.

"I don't think that the business losing that is the big important part," Reeves said. "I think it's the D.A.R.E. program, I think it's the school and I think that's what we've always seen the support of."

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