KENNESAW, Ga. - The Kennesaw Square Dealers have been spinning and swinging their partners since the 90's. For the past several years the square dancers have had a deal with the city of Kennesaw. They have been using the local community center for a nominal fee, and in return, they give dance lessons one night a week and appear in local parades and festivals.
Now, the city of Kennesaw said it won't renew the agreement, saying the performances and dance lessons don't compare to the value of the rental space. The city wants the dance group to pay the same as other non-profit groups that rent the community center. For the dance group, that means their monthly fees would jump from $230 to about $600 a month. The dancers said the higher fees may force them away.
“We're involved in parades and activities, everything is about Kennesaw Square Dealers, so we're promoting the town and hearing the rates are going to go so high it will drive us out of our building is just devastating,” said Karen Mann a past president of the group.
President of Square Dealers, Julie Jarrett, said the group does a lot for the city and should be able to keep the lower rate.
“We bring money into the city whenever someone comes here to dance, they'll eat in the area or buy gas,” said Jarrett.
The city said they are not kicking the dancers out, and said they are more than welcome to stay, at the higher rate. City leaders said they just want to be fair to all non-profit groups.
Don Pettit started square dancing lessons after his wife died last year. He said it has helped him move forward and said if the Square Dealers have to find a new corner to dance, he will follow their lead.
“I'm a Square Dealer, that's where I'm taking my lessons, that's who I dance with and where ever they go, I'll go,” said Pettit.
The current agreement expires on March 22. The dancers said they have not decided what they are going to do or where they are going to dance.