OTDB: Second thoughts about not loaning out portable stage

Posted: August 2, 2013

The Winchester Star

WINCHESTER — The Old Town Development Board wants to find out if a stage is the thing to make people play downtown.

On a 6-0 vote at their Thursday meeting, board members reversed previous plans not to loan their grant-funded portable stage to outside groups on at least an interim basis. They also unanimously voted to have their Promotions Committee develop a policy for future use requests.

Downtown Manager Jennifer Bell said she already has three requests to use the stage for events — Shenandoah University’s freshman plunge on Aug. 24, Main Street Agriculture Day on Sept. 28, and a salsa event. She also expects First Night Winchester to want the stage for its Dec. 31 festivities.

The stage, Bell said, could be an incentive for outside groups to hold events downtown.

Board members agreed that the issue is worth exploring, but they made it plain that they want to develop a policy for making the stage available for non-city events.

“If we offer it to one group,” board member Cory Garman said, “we have to offer it to any.”

Board members also want to charge a fee to at least recover any costs involved with setting up and dismantling the stage.

Bell said she’d monitor costs associated with SU’s event and provide that information to the committee.

“It may be prohibitively expensive,” she said.

Dario Savarese of Full Circle Marketing also told board members that a tailgate-party theme has been added for the beer and wine festival scheduled for Sept. 6 and 7.

The event will feature about 20 craft beers, wine and football games broadcast on big screen televisions, he said. Children’s activities and a sports zone also are being planned.

The board’s Promotions Committee also is developing a Halloween event to be held Oct. 26, member Mark Lore said. Youth activities will be held in the daytime, with adult events planned for the evening.

Attending the meeting at Rouss City Hall were Chairwoman Lauri Bridgeforth and board members Cory Garman, Marilyn Finnemore, Mark Lore, Rick McClendon and Andrea Smith. Vice-Chairman Stan Corneal and board members Brenda Adams, Kim Burke, Scott Dawson and Melinda Kramer were absent.

— Contact Vic Bradshaw at vbradshaw@winchesterstar.com