by Amie Sites
Four community organizations that have been trying to raise money to buy a portable stage got an unexpected boost Thursday.
The Cass County Community Foundation will invest in the stage, which is likely to cost about $145,000, in celebration of its 20th anniversary. Deanna Crispen, CCCF president, announced the purchase of the community stage Thursday afternoon.
The purchase results from a collaboration between CCCF and four community partner organizations, Cass County 4-H, Cass County Arts Alliance, Logan’s Landing and the Logansport Parks Department.
Crispen said the need for a mobile stage has been discussed for years, but didn’t fall under the foundation’s mission. A $40,000 grant was awarded by CCCF this summer when the four partnering organizations worked together to figure out scheduling, ownership and funding. When the board discussed celebrating the 20th anniversary of the foundation, board members approved a full grant of $144,511.
Crispen said the organizations expect to have the stage in April 2013.
The stage will be 14 by 36 feet and will have a powered protective canopy, stage deck, self-contained hydraulic system, stairs, storage lockers and fluorescent stage lighting.
“This will directly impact our community,” Crispen said.
Becki Harris, Logan’s Landing executive director, said she was thrilled by the grant.
“This is something that could be utilized by organizations across the county,” Harris said. “There are unlimited possibilities and we’re very grateful.”
Crispen said the grant will be made to the Cass County 4-H so that organization can purchase and store the stage. An advisory board will oversee the stage’s use.
“I’m proud to have donors in the past make unrestricted donations so we can give this gift,” said Crispen. “We want it to last a long time.”
The first year will allow the four organizations to use the stage, but after the first year, a rental contract will allow non-member groups to borrow the stage. Rental logistics have not been determined.
The Logansport Parks Department will be in charge of scheduling, training and transportation.
Janet Fawley, Logansport Parks Department administrator, said the stage and protective canopy will reduce weather-related event cancellations.
Each of the four partnering organizations will save money, too, because they won’t have to rent stages for events, said Pam Leeman, a Logan’s Landing board member.
The stage is expected to arrive well in advance of next year’s Med Flory Jazz Fest, for instance.
The stage for the summer music festival cost about $2,000 to rent this past year, according to Dave Herman, a Cass County Arts Alliance board member.
“I’m looking forward to it,” Herman said. “It will benefit the entire community, including surrounding towns.”
Amie Sites is a reporter at the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5150 or firstname.lastname@example.org.