Friends of Schmeeckle Reserve are in the process of constructing a 200-seat amphitheater which will take the place of the existing campfire and stage area.
For many, Schmeeckle is an area to take in nature, relax and attend community events.
The Candle Light Hike, which occurred on Oct. 27, is one of the increasingly popular events hosted at the Reserve. Last year’s night hike had 2,800 attendees, a number that the current campfire area could not support.
Jim Buchholz, the director of Schmeeckle Reserve, said, “A new amphitheater development will feature tiered stone seating for about 200 people, a timber-frame stage for performers, and a lighting and sound system that will enhance the experience for everyone. The amphitheater will serve as a unique outdoor venue for Schmeeckle Reserve’s programs and other university and community groups.”
The “Friends Amphitheater” will be the first major capital improvement project for the non-profit group. With no state funding, they hope to raise the funds through gifts and donations. With a total cost estimate of $235,000, the group hopes to raise at least $110,000 in cash donations.
In addition, the Friends of Schmeeckle Reserve hope to gain support from local companies donating materials.
Local donors Dallas and Edith Pankowski, have generously offered to match donations up to $40,000.
Bucholz said, “I am a strong supporter of the Friends amphitheater for several reasons. First, the amphitheater will better meet the needs of audience members attending Candlelight Hike Festival performances. As the number of attendees continues to grow, so does the need for a better performance space. Second, the amphitheater will provide new opportunities for partnerships with other university departments, student organizations, and community groups. Third, it is an opportunity for the Friends group to bring in revenue through rental fees, as it will be an ideal site for weddings and other private celebrations. All funds that the Friends generate help support Schmeeckle Reserve.”
The group has started fundraising recently and will continue into the spring. By summer 2018, they hope that the funds will be met and construction can begin.
Jerry Lineberger, the Friends of Schmeeckle Reserve Board President said, “We certainly hope that the availability of such a unique venue will provide a chance for UWSP students and community arts groups the chance to perform more frequently in the wooded area in the reserve!”
Donations of any amount are acknowledged through the newsletter and Schmeeckle Reserve web page. Those who choose to donate $1,000 will have their name engraved on a stone plaque. Those who have donated $10,000, will have their name engraved in addition to an image or logo on the plaque.
For more information on donating, contact Jerry Lineberger, or visit the web page of the Schmeeckle Reserve.