Following open voting earlier this month, the city of Denison is now one step closer to securing grant funding through the Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation for 2018's Music on Main concert series. For the past three years, Denison Main Street has received a $25,000 grant through the Levitt Foundation's AMP [Your City] Grant program for the annual concert series.

When polls closed recently for the initial selection stage for 2018's grants, Denison was in 20th place out of 35 cities. This allowed Denison to move onto the next stage, where the city will compete for 15 grants aimed at providing public concert series events across the country.

“With Levitt AMP, the joy of free, live music is bringing communities together in small and mid-sized towns and cities across the country,” the foundation said on its website.

Despite the heavy competition for the grants, Denison Main Street Director Donna Dow noted that the city was lower in the rankings last year and was still able to receive one of the 15 grants.

“I feel good about our chances, especially considering we were in 21st place last year and they still approved our application,” Dow said.

With this second phase, Dow said officials with Levitt will conduct interviews and panels of the remaining 25 candidate cities throughout December to decide which will receive funding.

Dow said she believes that the city will be able to secure Levitt funding due to the city's previous relationship with the foundation. Dow added that given the public nature of Levitt's concerts, the city's Heritage Park, the site for the concerts, also gives Denison an advantage moving forward.

Denison is one of only four cities that have received funding each year that the grants have been offered.

“The relationship Levitt has had with us has always been positive,” she said. “We know they support our goals and our concert series meets nearly all of the parameters they set forth.”

In order to receive the funding for the 10-week concert series, Dow said the city will need to match the funding through outside sources. However, Dow said that if the city receives the grant, she hopes that other funding sources will be encouraged to give to the cause.

With the additional funding, Dow said she hopes to set a $50,000 budget for the concert series. With this funding, she said she hopes to bring in nationally touring musicians and bring wider attention to the event.

Following interviews over the next month, Dow said she expects to hear a response from Levitt by Jan. 2.