mayor weighs options
on buying a riverfront stage
says portable stage
has merits over a permanent one
(April 2006) A new stage for the riverfront
is being sought for the future Madison Centennial Park, to be built
in time for the citys bicentennial in 2008.
Century Industries-built stage
can be rolled up hydraulically and
transported via a truck trailer.
Tourism director Linda Lytle has been meeting with Madison
Mayor Al Huntington and city special projects administrator Betsey Vonderheide
on options for either a permanent shell stage or a mobile stage that
could be transported to various locations on demand.
Lytle said the three have sought input from others in town who lead
In a recent interview, Huntington said he had not yet decided on which
way to go, but in late March Vonderheide said he is leaning toward
the mobile stage because of the versatility it offers us.
Ratio Architects Inc., which produced the initial design for the park,
had planned for a permanent stage to be erected on a hard pad made of
aggregate and located in the southeast corner of the site, situated
between Central and Poplar streets along Vaughn Drive. But Lytle said
that location would have performers facing into the afternoon sun, and
that the Madison Ribberfest prefers placing its stage in the southwest
corner to avoid the problem.
Huntington also worries about flooding in the area should a permanent
shell-covered stage be built there.
I dont want to build a pad and then buy a stage and find
out later that it doesnt fit, Huntington said. We
want to do the right thing because this is an important project.
Huntington believes the mobile stage would be useful for riverfront
events as well as events held elsewhere in town, such as the summer
concert event at John Paul Park.
Renting a stage costs so much that we believe it would be better
for us in the long run to buy a stage, Vonderheide said. We
may even be able to rent it out to other groups in the county for special
Huntington is close to deciding on purchasing a 36-foot mobile stage
manufactured by Century Industries in Sellersburg. The stage sells for
just over $100,000. It folds up into a large truck and can be easily
set up by one person via hydraulics, said company salesperson Michelle
McRae. She has met with Madison city officials to explain the benefits
of the product, which the 25-year-old company has sold worldwide.
We have sold stages to schools, military bases and many cities
and towns, McRae said. They are quite popular, very versatile
and easy to use.
The stage can be expanded in size with the addition of portable risers.
A new stage is not expected to be in place in time for the new Ohio
River Valley Folk Festival in May, but one should be available in time
for the Madison Ribberfest in August, Vonder-heide said.
The Ribberfest Committee recently donated $10,000 toward the stage from
The city must rent a stage for the Folk Festival at a cost of nearly
$3,000, Lytle said. The Ribberfest has paid as much as $3,500 to rent
a stage in previous years.
Lytle said she favors the mobile stage and expects a final decision
to be made soon.
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