Who pays for all those doves?
SULLIVAN COUNTY, NY — When the last dove is unveiled near Cabernet Franks in Parksville on June 7, there will be 50 painted doves on display in Sullivan County in recognition of the 50th anniversary of the original 1969 Woodstock Festival in Bethel. A temporary map of all of the locations, made by the Sullivan Catskills Visitors Association (SCVA), is available on The River Reporter website.
As the doves have made their release, questions on social media have swirled about just who is footing the bill for all of the large fiberglass birds. The project originated with the SCVA, headed by Roberta Byron-Lockwood, who said that the 15 towns and five villages in Sullivan County, along with the county itself, each received one dove for free. If the municipalities wanted a second dove—which some did, including the Town of Bethel—they could purchase one for $1,400, which Byron-Lockwood said is at cost. Many businesses purchased a dove at cost, as did organizations such as Sullivan County Community College and Catskill Regional Medical Center.
All of the doves have been painted by local artists. The cost of that effort was aided by grants from Sullivan Renaissance.
SCVA itself is funded through a county room or bed tax, which is paid by people who stay at local motels, bed and breakfasts and now also Airbnb, so the cost of supporting SCVA is born not by local residents, but instead by residents who visit the area. SCVA uses 85% of the funding generated by the bed tax to market Sullivan County both locally and around the world.
Byron-Lockwood went on to say that the Dove Trail project has been hugely successful. She said the doves are a permanent installations and “the marketing campaign will go on for years to come.” A press release from SCVA says, “SCVA staff receive daily calls and emails from locals and visitors from outside the county wanting to see all the revealed doves. The enthusiasm for this trail is building and the SCVA wants to meet the immediate needs of their visitors.”