Walla Walla aviary needs help to avoid closure

WALLA WALLA -- The first official fundraiser for the newly formed Friends of Pioneer Park Aviary steering committee takes flight today.

Budget cuts for 2011 have left the aviary unfunded and facing complete closure unless funding is secured.

Committee member Craig Keister, a downtown businessman who owns and operates Tra Vigne (formerly Mandrakes), said he has heard numerous comments from people who want to save the aviary and feels it is a mistake to shut it down.

"That sort of comment usually just stays in the living room or over the back fence, but what we are trying to do is get organized and get together and get some force and save it. And I think that is what we are going to do," he said.

The group will be at Land Title Plaza, by 33 E. Main St., from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today to provide information about the park and hopefully garner more support.