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Ray Co. Relay moves June event to Richmond Square

By JoEllen Black/Richmond News

Ray County Relay for Life wants to bring its annual relay party downtown June 7. The group requested the new location to “breathe some new life” into the event at Richmond City Council’s Jan. 8 meeting.

The council unanimously approved the request, which requires street closures around Ray County Courthouse and Thornton to North Shaw streets, in front of US Bank. Streets would close 4 p.m. June 7 and re-open 7 a.m. June 8. The council also suspended the city’s noise ordinance for the high-energy event.

“We’re very grateful for Richmond High School allowing us to use their facility year after year,” said Nathan Preston, a spokesman for Relay for Life at the meeting. “We’re trying to breathe some life into the event and city square.”

“I think it’s a great idea, being on the square,” said Mayor Mike Wright about the proposal.

In its letter to the council, Ray County Relay for Life said it hopes the new venue encourages more interaction between the teams and generates new interest in the event, which translates to more teams and fundraising dollars.

“We want to give us a facelift and do something different, hopefully to re-energize a few teams we have lost,” said Glenda Reynolds, a coordinator of the event.

Ray County Relay for Life has seen a decrease in participation and fundraising in recent years. The organization notes the event generated $63,000 for the American Cancer Society in 2011, dropping to $45,000 in 2012.

Reynolds said Richmond Square would allow teams’ campsites to be established on the outer perimeter of the square for more interaction between teams and other walkers.

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