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October 19, 2018

1/8/2018 11:06:00 AM
Grant awarded to Civic Auditorium project

The Hardenbergh Foundation has awarded a capital project grant of $200,000 to the St. Croix Falls Civic Auditorium redevelopement project.  Jeff Peterson, Executive Director of the Hardenbergh Foundation, stated, “We appreciate the care with which the proposal for financial support of the City of St. Croix Falls was presented and are pleased to be in a position to help.”

“This group effort is very rewarding,” said Irene Bugge, who is one of five community volunteers learning about writing grants as they research and submit new applications on behalf of the Civic Auditorium’s Centennial Committee.  “We reviewed all the past documents related to the project such as the history of the building and prior grant applications.   We’ve updated the Common Grant narrative, financials, and taken turns as point person in the prospecting and research for new grants.”

The Grants Committee is made up of Irene Bugge, Fay Caneday, Josiah Laubenstein, Carol Lenhart, and Kelly Sylte.   Their mentor is Danette McCarthy who served in a professional role to the City of St. Croix Falls until October 2016 when the Centennial Committee was formed to oversee fundraising for the final $1.5 million needed for this $5.3 million project.

Seven years of community planning concluded in 2016 with a fully designed and permitted plan to expand and restore the Civic Auditorium creating a dynamic performing arts and events center.   The project plan was overseen by the City's Community Development Authority whom authorized the allocation of available TID dollars towards this project as a catalyst for economic develop and renewal.  The St. Croix Falls City Council has also approved both the project plans and the allocation of TID financing.

The Centennial Committee is pressing forward.  This important project which has already received $500,000 from a Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation grant as an incentive to bolster economic activity in the historic downtown of St. Croix Falls and to increase tourism and conference activity in this western Wisconsin city.  In addition to the Hardenbergh Foundation grant, the project has also received $125,000 in other grants.

The Hardenbergh Foundation was formed in 1950 by Ianthe (Bronson) Hardenbergh and her daughter Gabrielle.  Over their lifetimes, mother and daughter were extremely generous in supporting community needs in the St. Croix Valley and East Metro where they lived.  Originally named the St. Croix Foundation (in recognition of the river based logging business that had created their wealth), the name was changed in 2005 to avoid confusion with the newly formed St. Croix Valley Foundation.  The Hardenbergh Foundation has contributed to programs providing health care, senior housing, education, community services and support for the arts.
Individual pledges and donations to the Civic Auditorium will be a major focus of fundraising through June of 2018.  The Centennial Committee has created the Century Society to honor donors of $10,000 or more on a hundred-year timeline that celebrates the Civic Auditorium’s first one years of service.  Century Society donors can fulfill their pledges all at once or over the course of two to four years.   The Centennial Committee also has a seat sponsorship program in place for gifts of $1,000 to $2,500 with a focus on replacing the seats that have been in place at the Civic since the 1930’s.   There is also an elevator fund that was started as a challenge grant of $45,000 by an anonymous couple, that wishes to focus   on this specific attribute of the new addition to the Civic Auditorium.

“By expanding and restoring the Civic Auditorium, a City owned building for past 100 years, we are making a strategic investment in the experience economy and creating an incentive for private investments within our historic downtown,” said Mayor Brian Blesi.

A website has been established to learn more about the Civic Auditorium capital project and pledges to the fundraising campaign can be made via www.scfcivicauditorium.com or by phone to Irene Bugge 715-554-2501 or Danette McCarthy 612-205-5738.

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