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Community Amphitheatre takes shape

Community Amphitheatre takes shape

CBDT praises City Council

Much of the work and materials on the new amphitheater in the Heart of Cedar Springs has been donated or done at a discounted rate. Courtesy photo.

City Councilors heard words of appreciation from the Community Building Development Team (CBDT) through representatives Kurt Mabie and Sue Wolfe at their June 13 meeting. The council was recognized for their ability to create and maintain a collaborative environment where businesses, organizations, and individuals could openly share ideas, goals and strategies that would enhance the community. The council was asked to pause, reflect, and celebrate all that has been accomplished.  

The Baker family enjoys one of the new park benches. Courtesy photo.

 Those include:

• One new and one expanded city park with one to be named Heart of Cedar Springs and the other one along Pine Street to be named soon. 

• A library with a community meeting room surrounded by a beautiful patio which overlooks the park and creek. 

• The North Country Trail completed and running through Cedar Springs with Trail Town Status coming soon to the City of Cedar Springs. 

• Two art sculptures placed along Cedar Creek. 

• New pavilion in Morley Park. 

• And NOW … a new amphitheater!

And it’s all paid in full. 

Items that are in process and coming soon include:

• Fire Station

• Veterans Tribute Park

• Benches, natural playground, flowing well and more in our city parks

Still on the dream docket are …

• Board walk along Cedar Creek

• Community Building

The CBDT representatives explained an amphitheater was built after statistics showing the best liked communities had amphitheaters that…

• Provide the community with a place to gather, celebrate, and enjoy a wide spectrum of cultural activities that enrich the lives of people. 

• Promote economic growth by bringing folks into downtown during both traditional and non-traditional times of the day.

• Promote physical, social, emotional and intellectual benefits through an outdoor experience.

 “The CBDT created a sub-committee called the Design Committee, comprised of architects, builders, designers, engineers, plumbers, teachers, dreamers and doers,” explained Wolfe. “Together they were able to get this amphitheater designed, engineered, located, and built for about $150,000—well below the original estimated cost of $ 780,000.” 

The City’s website flashes “Cherishing our Heritage. Embracing our Future,” said Wolfe. “This theme is exactly what the Design Team tried to follow with the amphitheater. The design is a close replica of the original train station that stood in this area many years ago. One of the two train lines was called the Fishing Line because it transported avid outdoorsman up north to Mackinaw. The fishing line logo will hang on the building along with one of the original signs that was on the train depot. Honoring our Heritage.” 

Amphitheater location factors addressed were visibility, accessibility, sun sets, elevations, and conservation, while still highlighting Cedar Creek, White Pine Trail, North Country trail, our cedar and other trees, and natural vegetation. 

Design features include excellence in acoustics, adequate electric hookups and lighting, storage and staging rooms, with attention to adding safety features such as video cameras and surveillance lighting. Materials were carefully selected to provide longevity and address low maintenance and possible damage repairs. 

“All that being addressed…per capita I believe Cedar Springs has one of the very finest amphitheaters in the country,” Wolfe said. 

Embracing the Future 

This past week has brought about significant progress on the amphitheater through the skilled and dedicated team of Cedar Springs based companies and Cedar Springs High School graduates dedicated to serving our community. The framing and metal roof are complete while the stone, siding, and interior are close to completion. 

Duane McIntyre, a 1976 CSHS graduate, licensed and experienced builder, has volunteered his time and skills as site manager and often a laborer as well. Glen (Butch) Hackbardt, 1985 CSHS grad and local builder, has served as the general contractor. Jason Emmorey, of Emmorey Masonry, along with Austin Emmorey and Corey Terrell both 2019 CSHS grads are honored to have laid the brick on both the library and now the amphitheater. Choice One Construction, out of Cedar Springs and co-owned by Steve and Chris West (2012 grad) are assisted by Devin and Mason Boomgaard. Kurt and Sue Mabie donated some additional trees along Maple Street. 

The cement pads and most of the benches are now installed and being used. “There is still an opportunity to have your own named bench in the Heart of Cedar Springs city park,” Wolfe explained. “A donation of $1,000 will give you naming privileges on a 4-foot bench and $1,500 will give you a 6-foot bench.” 

Much of the work and materials are being donated or done at a discounted price.   

The CBDT offered assistance and support in exploring the opportunities of operation at the amphitheater. “Some communities have created an Amphitheater Committee or Commission which could include representation from area schools, community players, DDA, Chamber of Commerce, local talent, musical merchants, cultural instructors, and others. An amphitheater mission will need to be created along with goals and objectives, rules and a fee structure. The committee could assist for events such as musical, theater, dance, poetry, and art presentations. Church gatherings. Family movies and pet shows. Maybe group work-out, martial arts, or yoga classes. So many possibilities. We hope our own local talent will share their gifts at the amphitheater,” Wolfe shared. 

Gordon Neville, a retired Army veteran with a combination of active duty and Army National Guard with 21 years of service of which most of his life has been centered around music, addressed the council to express his interest in assisting. Neville taught music and band for nearly 40 years, performing with military bands and rock bands in civilian life. While retired from public school teaching, he now has a part time position with Algoma Christian School as their band director. He is the director of Grand Little Big Band, which is a multi-generational Swing, Blues, and Jazz band.     

Once an occupancy permit has been secured, the council hopes to have a preliminary plan of operation in place. If you are interested in becoming involved please contact Sue Wolfe at 696.8432 or any other CBDT or City Council member.

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