Lack of funds brings down Avenue of Flags

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Posted: Wednesday, June 26, 2013 12:00 am

The Avenue of Flags, a long procession of American flags that has billowed in Bellevue since 1999, will not fly this year.

Jim Ristow, president of the Bellevue Chamber of Commerce, which sponsors the display, said private contributions to the program have declined over the past decade to the point where the fund has been dry the past two years.

He said it costs about $5,000 to buy the 100 flags that from 1999 to 2011 stretched from Mission Avenue west to Highway 370.

That is a recurring cost, he said, because the flags wear out every year and must be replaced.

Last year was the first since the Avenue of Flags was created in 1999 that the chamber had insufficient funds to erect the full display, he said.

A reserve fund was used to pay for a partial display of 55 flags along Mission Avenue, but even that is not possible this year, he said.

The cost of purchasing the flags is the only cost associated with the program since city workers erect the flags on light poles along the route, and Boy Scouts dispose of the used flags in an appropriate manner.

Ristow said the Avenue of Flags has been a source of community pride in Bellevue and he is eager to get the flags flying again.

“In the past we’ve had a lot of people contribute to it,” he said.

“If there are any generous donors out there, we’d always appreciate that.

“We’d love to get these back up again. It’s just a matter of funding. We’ll have the phone bank open.”

The chamber can be reached at 402-898-3000.

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