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The Racine Founders Rotary Club and the Racine Rotary Foundation want to donate $100,000 towards the cost of building a permanent performance structure at Festival Park.

In exchange, the civic organization also wants the park named after Rotary founder Paul P. Harris. One of the primary reasons Festival Park is not used as much is because organizations need to pay $6,000 to $10,000 to rent a stage. This alleviates the issue and the hope is for the property to get more use.

“We believe a permanent performance structure will benefit these organizations and make it possible for more people to enjoy this phenomenal venue,” according to a letter written by Ashley Staeck, president of the Racine Founders Rotary Club, and Ian Lang, president of the Racine Rotary Foundation.

The City of Racine would oversee the construction. Once built, it would also manage, maintain and make any needed improvements.

City, Rotary To Pay Cost

The city has not decided on the exact structure and design details, said Amanda Gain, executive director Festival Park and Hall.

“I am honored to be a part of this project between the Rotary and the city of Racine. What an amazing way to honor the founder of Rotary and Racine native Paul P Harris,” Gain said.

Gain is also a member of the organization.

Building a permanent performance structure has been in the works for about five years. The estimated cost, however, would be about $150,000. The city intends to pay for the remaining projects cost out of its capital improvements budget, said city administrator Tom Friedel.

“This would be a concrete structure with wiring,” Friedel said. “Then we’ll put a cover over it and have a loading dock for the trucks to come in.”

Discussion needed In Finance, Personnel Committees

City officials were notified of the donation at a Common Council meeting held Tuesday. The matter will be discussed in the finance and personnel committees. Once the recommendations are finalized, the resolution will need final approval from the Common Council before the project moves forward.

Alderman Ray DeHahn said voice support for the project.

“If it’s a permanent structure, hopefully there will be more use down there because of it,” he said.

Construction is expected to be completed by the summer of 2017.

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Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.