Historic Westville names new board leaders

Historic Westville Inc., the 1850s village at Lumpkin, Ga., has elected a new chair for its board and executive committee.

Patti Rioux, who was vice chair of the two panels and has been on the Westville Board of Trustees about 10 years, was elected at the annual meeting July 21. Louise Tennant Smith of Columbus, former food editor of the Ledger-Enquirer, was elected board vice chair.

The good news for Westville is that it is living within its means and paid down a loan by $71,000. Its budget for 2007 was $751,000, up from $647,000 the year before. Paid visitation appears to be increasing, and was up 40 percent in June, with village revenues up by one-third. For the year ended June 30, village revenues were up 15 percent.

On the not-so-good side, cash donations declined by nearly $63,000, from $311,000 a year before to $248,000 last year, due largely to a decline in bigger gifts, according to immediate past Chairman Andy Moye.

Also, total visitation (including free admissions) continues to decline. Since 2001, Westville has lost about half of its visitation, which represents about $200,000. About 44,000 visitors came in 2000, compared with about 23,000 last year. But 95 percent of the admissions now are paid admissions.

"We're living within our means and need to get visitation up to do the way we have in the past," said Moye.