New Prague POPS Post
May 2023 -- Volume 1 -- Number 4
“You Can Accomplish Anything” -- It’s Time!
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.
By Den Gardner, chair, Praha Outdoor Performance Stage (POPS) Committee
Hello POPS enthusiasts!
For about 100 years (or so it seems that long) I’ve had a phrase on my office desk that is very simple and direct: “You Can Accomplish Anything!” Most days, I relish reading this motivational piece; other days, not so much.
As the Praha Outdoor Performance Stage (POPS) group passes six months in its three-year quest to raise $1 million to build an outdoor performance venue, one should be optimistic. Why?
We’ve raised $412,000 in three-year pledges (our goal for 2023 is $500,000; it had been $250,000).
We’ve made 20+ presentations to businesses, individuals, and even one local church explaining this wonderful community project. The VAST majority of our contacts have been overwhelmingly supportive.
We’re having a FREE gala event for the public Oct. 28 featuring the Eddie Shimota Band and Little Chicago (and lots of food/drink and other prizes available) at the Park Ballroom (provided FREE to us by the great folks with the American Legion) to celebrate year one of our effort and…
…To give away a vehicle valued at $20,000 (donated by Palmer and Sue Welcome). All you have to do is buy a $20 ticket or three tickets for $50 and support the POPS building effort. Details will be forthcoming. The raffle sales effort will be coordinated by the New Prague Rotary Club. Thanks much to this fabulous service organization for its support of POPS and the community.
The Forward New Prague Foundation, created in January to be the holding place for non-profit groups in New Prague looking to make the community better with any number of projects, already has 501c3 status from the IRS as a tax-exempt non-profit. The first group it is taking under its wing is, of course: The POPS project. Thanks to the New Prague Rotary Foundation for taking early donations to POPS. Now, all donations are to be made payable to the Forward New Prague Foundation (for POPS’ benefit).
POPS has chosen Bolton & Menk Engineering Services to review the three sites the City is donating as possible locations for the outdoor venue. Site visits with city staff and POPS Committee members took place a few weeks ago. A priority selection will be recommended to the POPS Committee and New Prague Park Board by the end of the second quarter.
We’ve set up a bank account with Minnwest Bank and a brokerage account with Wells Fargo Advisors.
In marketing our effort, our website has been updated. Two signs are now promoting POPS – one downtown and one on the east end of town by Minnwest Bank. Continued thanks to our media partners – KCHK and the NP Times – for their pro bono radio spots/ads running continuously. And POPS T-shirts, 1 for $20 and 3 for $50 are now available. Contact me (email@example.com) for information. You may also order them online through our website.
And more to come.
Suffice it to say, none of these accomplishments (Remember: “You Can Accomplish Anything!”) would be possible without the efforts of the POPS Leadership Team. See the list of this great team elsewhere in this e-newsletter.
The work of this committee and many others in the community through their volunteerism (including the New Prague Area Arts Council) continues in the months ahead. It’s your “Persistence, Diligence, Dedication, and Passion (The PDDP POPS Formula) that will continue to make us successful.
“It’s Time,” folks, to get on board, celebrate the arts in New Prague, and be part of this effort with your time, talent, and treasure. Have a great summer!
Den Gardner, Chair
Praha Outdoor Performance Stage (POPS)
This beauty could be yours! Thank you, Palmer Welcome Auto!
Fundraising SubCommittee Update
By: Shannon Brusseau and Den Gardner
The POPS Fundraising Subcommittee is led by Shannon Brusseau and Den Gardner. Thus far (with a huge thanks from the POPS Committee), pledges have been secured from the following contributors:
- $100,000 Pledged (Gardner & Gardner Communications/Den and Sandy)
- $75,000 Pledged (MinnWest Bank--New Prague)
- $75,000 Pledged (Mike/Kay Wilcox)
- $50,000 Pledged (Brusseau Investments/Lisa and Shannon Brusseau)
- $30,000 Pledged (Palmer and Susan Welcome) Palmer Welcome Auto – includes $20,000 donated car)
- $25,000 Pledged (New Prague Chamber)
- $25,000 Pledged (New Prague Fire Relief Association)
- $15,000 Pledged (Bevcomm)
- $10,000 pledged (Jerry/Mary Walerius)
- $5,000 Pledged (New Prague Park Board)
- $1,000 Paid (Sarah Kalall/Second Swing)
- $1,000 Pledged (Veseli Lions)
TOTAL -- $412,000
As noted previously, the 2023 goal was moved from $250,000 to $500,000. That means $88,000 must be raised by the end of 2023 to reach our first-year goal. In other news:
- Waiting for commitments from about a dozen companies that have received pitches in late fall 2022 and through May 1, 2023. Goal to have several prospects closed by mid-summer.
- The New Prague Rotary Club will sell raffle tickets for $20,000 vehicle giveaway fundraiser – see next bullet point. ($20/ticket, three tickets for $50). Goal $20,000+ in tickets sold.
- The fall gala is set for Oct. 28, Park Ballroom, 4-8 p.m. Giving away vehicle worth $20,000 donated by Palmer/Susan Welcome. Two bands will play at half-rates – Eddie Shimota Band and Little Chicago. Legion donating Park Ballroom free of charge. Food/refreshment will be available, along with other prize giveaways. More details in the future.
- Working with New Prague native and musician Tim O’Neill on a list of donors based on their interest in the arts. Den and Kathy O’Neill are also working on meetings with New Prague families to discuss POPS.
Feasibility & Design SubCommittee
By: Steve Frost
We have made a lot of progress in the past two months as we get closer to choosing one of the three sites under consideration– City Center, Skating/Sliding Hill Park, and Memorial Park:
Bolton & Menk, Inc. engineering firm was chosen to do a feasibility study of each site. They have visited all three sites with POPS Sub-Committee members and City staff.
Thanks go out to the New Prague Park Board for approving a pledge of $5,000 for part of the feasibility studies of the sites.
Our committee continues to coordinate with New Prague City officials, Ken Ondich/Kyra Chapman, as appropriate.
Our goal is to have site priority selection made by the end of the second quarter, with a follow-up presentation to the New Prague Park Board by early summer.
We are beginning to put thoughts together regarding amenities and features that the structure will have–to meet the needs of the community and groups that will use it. Once the site has been formally selected and approved, we will fine-tune the design stage of the POPS project.
Engineers from Bolten and Menk, POPS Sub-Committee members, and City staff evaluate the feasibility of our proposed cites.
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.
- Four newsletters produced – December, January, March and this one in May. Bi-monthly (every two months). Distributed to 80+ emails, printed and sent to about 30 more. Also the New Prague Chamber makes available through its weekly newsletter, as well as Rotary to its members.
- Larry leads the effort on the web site. Recently updated. (www.nppops.org) Work in progress.
- Two billboard/signs are now around New Prague -- Downtown attached to the east wall of the Pioneer Saloon; and on the east end of the city, near Minnwest Bank. Thanks to Eddie Shimota for assistance
- Media plans continue with NP Times (monthly ad, articles); KCHK (half-dozen spots per week/interviews six times/per year, etc.) You can hear the radio spots on our web site – www.nppops.org.
- POPS T-shirts. On sale for 1 for $20 and 3 for $50.
- General t-shirts with logo with phrase “It’s Time!” for committee members and others in the community.
- For contributors over $1,000. Logo, phrase “It’s Time!”, plus second phrase – “I’m a POPS Superstar!” on sleeve. If you contribute $1,000 or more to POPS, your t-shirt is free!
Watch our fundraising success!
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 presentation we’d be glad to share with you. And your donation can be made to our new 501c3 tax-exempt non-profit organization – The Forward New Prague Foundation (FNPF).
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.