New Prague POPS Post
January 2023 -- Volume 1 -- Number 2
Editor’s Note: “It’s Time!” Is a monthly column by Den Gardner, chair of the Praha Outdoor Performance Stage (POPS) Committee of the New Prague Area Arts Council. If you can read, we ask you to read it at your leisure! If you missed reading class in elementary school, an audio version may be available in the next three years. OK, just kidding.
The new year always brings optimism to me. Well, some would say I’m always optimistic. Heck, I’m 71 and mostly retired. Who wouldn’t be optimistic?! I look at it this way:
“Let’s get excited about the future. I honestly don’t think the past will care!”
The Praha Outdoor Performance Stage (POPS) Leadership Team AND residents of New Prague should be excited about 2023. Why?
- We’ve already met our 2023 fundraising goal, which was to raise $250,000 by the end of 2023. As of mid-January, we’re at $370,000 pledged. And more pledges will be coming in the next few months. We hope to get halfway to our $1 million overall goal by the end of the year.
- The POPS Committee is made up of six sub-committees that are diligently pursuing their work in these areas:
- Site Feasibility/Design
- Marketing Communications
- City/School/Community Organization Collaborations
- Grants/Public-Private Funding
Do you want to get involved? If so, whether it be through serving on one of our sub-committees, contributing as a donor, offering your services to us on a pro bono basis, or any other form of volunteerism, please contact me and get involved – firstname.lastname@example.org. Or call me at 612-325-3981. Or contact one of our officers. It’s time for you to get involved. Our POPS officer team of Karen Steinhoff, Bruce Wolf, Sandi Loxton and I are using our POPS formula – Diligence, Persistence, Passion, and Dedication (DPPD) – as our guiding light to steer us to the completion of this project.
Yes folks, “It’s Time!” Time for this vibrant community of 8,100 residents to create a facility that can celebrate the arts in New Prague for residents of all ages. Our mission statement is succinct and clear:“To build a multi-purpose outdoor performance facility to celebrate the arts and other community gatherings from music to theatre to dance to visual arts and much more.”
Den Gardner, Chair
Praha Outdoor Performance Stage (POPS)
Fundraising SubCommittee Update
By: Shannon Brusseau and Den Gardner
Meeting Our 2023 Goals for Fundraising
The residents of New Prague should be full of enthusiasm as 2023 begins. Why? Because the POPS Fundraising Subcommittee has already exceeded its 2023 financial goal of $250,000. Our actual total now exceeds $370,000. Because of this better-than-expected result, subcommittee leads Shannon Brusseau and Den Gardner are increasing our goal by the end of 2023 to $500,000! We hope all of you will be part of our effort to make this new goal.
Other News in the Fundraising Arena?
The subcommittee expects considerable activity in the first quarter of 2023. Behind the scenes, a number of meetings are being organized to visit with potential donors.
The New Prague Chamber of Commerce has committed to a three-year pledge of $25,000. We thank the group, led by Brooke Sticha, and a great board, for their support of this effort.
Other major community organizations are developing plans this first quarter to determine their giving. The New Prague Rotary’s Dr. Jon Colling, as one example, is working closely with POPS leadership on efforts to develop a plan for POPS support through Rotary.
A special event is in very preliminary discussions for some time in 2023. Details in the ensuing months.
Our subcommittee plans to meet with dozens of potential donors in the first half of 2023. Pick up the phone and call Den at 612-325-3981 or email him at: email@example.com with your thoughts. We’d love to show you our plans.
Finally, we want to thank all of you who have allowed us to visit with you on this historic project. With one exception (and we never close the doors entirely), all of our meetings have been met with enthusiasm and knowledge of how important this effort is to the residents of New Prague. Yes, “It’s Time!"
Our POPS Formula -- Persistence, Diligence, Dedication, and Passion – will get us to our $1 million goal in the next couple of years. You are the ones to thank for our progress thus far.
Feasibility & Design SubCommittee
By: Steve Frost
This subcommittee is made up of Steve Frost, chair; plus committee members Pat Sullivan, Karen Steinhoff, Joe Barten, Stef Tupy, Larry Pint, Kay Wilcox and Den Gardner.
The Site Feasibility and Design Subcommittee has been active in the past 30 days. It has met with two firms offering proposals and the subcommittee has met once to review the proposals following the in-person presentations.
We’re very close to selecting a firm to do a site analysis of the three city-owned properties where we hope to build the POPS. Our goal is doable to get a site selected by this summer. That will be a collaborative decision between the POPS Leadership Team and the city. As a reminder, those three sites are:
- City Center – west end of downtown; old Mill Pond/Creamery site
- Sliding Hill Skate Park – across from New Prague High School
- Memorial Park area
Marketing Communications SubCommittee
The Marketing Communications SubCommittee is composed of Julie Schmitz, chair; plus Larry Pint, Jenny Schmitz, Karen Steinhoff and Den Gardner. Its goal is to educate and inform the New Prague area public about the POPS project through traditional media (radio, print, outdoor billboard, etc.), social media, website and much more.
- The first edition of our POPS Newsletter was distributed via both email and post in mid-December. It presented a detailed history of the POPS project and our goals for the future.
- As our committees work through their to-do lists, watch for updates on our website: www.nppops.org. It’s loaded with news and pictures to keep you up-to-date.
- You can also read about us and talk about us on Facebook (Praha Outdoor Performance Stage), Instagram (NewPraguePOPS), Twitter (@NewPraguePOPS), etc.
- One of our two outdoor signs is completed and on display. Look on the east wall of the Pioneer Saloon for a large thermometer showing the progress of our efforts to raise $1 million by the end of 2025. As the money comes in through donations and grants, the “temperature” will rise until we meet our goal. Thanks to POPS Committee members Karen Steinhoff, Julie Schmitz and Eddie Shimota for their help with this project.
- Also, the Jan. 12 edition of the NP Times featured our POPS ad. This ad will appear monthly, thanks to POPS Bronze Supporter Suel Printing.
- Radio spots on KCHK Radio will begin soon as well. Go to www.nppops.org to listen
All marketing communications efforts are designed to promote fundraising and provide people with more information about the POPS. Thanks to both media outlets for stepping up and providing this space and time for us to continually inform the public about this effort. Keep your eyes and ears peeled for more ads and spots in the future!
Julie Schmitz, left, and Eddie Shimota, right, display the POPS sign on the east wall of the Pioneer Saloon in downtown New Prague. Thanks to Julie Schmitz for the banner design and Eddie for managing the attachment of the sign to the wall and the owner, Mark Michel, for allowing us to display it!
City/School/Community Organization Collaborations SubCommitee
The City, School, Community Organization Collaborations SubCommittee is composed of Tony Buthe, Chair, plus Gary Pikal, Dan Bishop and Ben Hilding. We are more than happy to accept any other person who may be interested in supporting this group.
The City/School/Community Organization Collaborations SubCommittee has gathered its volunteers to begin contacting New Prague area organizations to garner support for our POPS project. We value the input of any/all organizations that would like to offer suggestions or resources that might be relevant to our project. If you know of a group or organization that you believe we should contact, please reach out to us! For example, a meeting has been set in March with the American Legion Post to discuss its potential interest in the project.
Grant/Public Private Funding SubCommittee
By: Sandi Loxton
Sandi Loxton and Kyra Chapman continue to search and review grant opportunities on both the state and local levels. In their search, they have discovered that some grants are tied to specific counties. Two of the proposed locations (City Center and Sliding Hill) are in Scott County and one (Memorial Park) is in LeSueur County, so the exact location after the completion of the feasibility study will need to be determined before any grant applications can be written.
They continue their quest to provide both public and private grant funds to offset the fundraising of private donations.
Do You Want To Get Involved?
As we visit with potential donors, we constantly get asked: “When will construction begin?” Our optimistic answer is as soon as we have pledges for $1 million. And the vast majority will be raised with private funds as noted. We believe that’s three years of work ahead of us – with a goal to begin construction in early 2025. Sooner if we raise the money earlier than planned.
We’re seeking three-year pledges, with donation levels starting at $1,000 and reaching $100,000. We have a proposal we’d be glad to share with you. And your donation can be made to a 501c3 non-profit organization – in this case the New Prague Rotary Foundation – which is holding donations for POPS for up to two years while we apply for our own foundation – The Forward New Prague Foundation.
The application to the IRS for the designation of the Forward New Prague Foundation to be registered as a 501c3 non-profit organization was submitted in mid-January. We expect approval by the end of 2023.
Yes folks, "It's Time!"
Time for this vibrant community of 8,100 residents to create a facility that can celebrate the arts in New Prague for residents of all ages. Our mission statement is succinct and clear:
It’s time for you to get involved. Our POPS officer team of myself, Karen Steinhoff, Bruce Wolf and Sandi Loxton are using our POPS formula – Diligence, Persistence, Passion and Dedication (DPPD) – as our guiding light to steer us to completion of this project.