Casburn asks city for time to build proposal No action on ACT request

November 7, 2017 GMT

MOUNT CARMEL — The Mount Carmel City Council heard a second proposal for a stage to be built at uptown amphitheater at Monday night’s council meeting, but they also heard criticism.

Cory Casburn, with Art and Community Together, a Wabash County citizen action group, first made a proposal to city officials for a stage at the amphitheater in 2010.

“In 2010, I approached several community members, who have a love and connection to the art of theater to join me in structuring a plan to launch an amphitheater in our community. We set out to investigate the monetary needs, physical needs and many benefits of offering an amphitheater in our home town. We established a name Art and Community Together or ‘ACT’,” said Casburn.

Cashburn said prior to the 2010 election, he met numerous times with then- Mount Carmel Mayor Tom Meeks and with then-mayoral candidate Bill Hudson. Casburn said the amphitheater project became a part of the election campaigns, but following the campaign, the Art and Community Together organization was never mentioned again.

“When I found out there were plans to move ahead with the proposed construction on a shelter and stage, recently proposed by Market Street MTC, I asked Hudson for six months to prepare a second proposal and was granted two weeks,” said Casburn. “I only found out about the two week deadline this past Friday, as I received no notification,” Casburn said.

Casburn said he understands the other proposal on the table includes spending $3,000 on a raised concrete stage and a wooden shelter house.

At the last city council meeting, Terry Beckerman with Market Street MTC, proposed a concrete stage 28 feet wide and 24 feet deep with a built-on ramp and gable roof. The organization would raise the funds for the project.

“I’m asking that time be taken for exploring the functionality and design of the space and applying the gained knowledge to a build a stage, bandshell and seating that is functional and can withstand years to serve our community for generations to come,” Casburn said.

Casburn presented pictures of stages with bandshells attached, to council members. “The bandshell is important to our design for several reasons. It acts as an acoustical device, channeling and pushing sound straight back at an audience,” Casburn explained.

“Both our original proposal, as well as my proposal before you tonight, aren’t just about a stage, but about the lot as a whole,” Casburn said. “I am still referring to this property as a lot, because it does not yet contain any of the ingredients that technically make it an amphitheater, which would include seating, stage, bandshell and park designation,” he continued.

Casburn said ACT wants the opportunity to give the council a complete proposed project to look at, but two weeks isn’t sufficient time to do so.

“The Art and Community Together Organization is interested in researching, designing and building a stage, bandshell and raised seating to complete the uptown amphitheater project. We would also like to look into building a lockable storage area which would also serve as a ticket booth and concession stand facing Market Street,” Casburn explained.

Casburn’s formal request for additional time was not addressed by the council. Following his request, council members thanked him and there was no discussion on the matter.