The lease has been signed!
AND we have paid for the first year of an initial five year lease.
The basic terms of the lease call for an annual payment of ten dollars and the expenditure of $10,000.00 on capital improvements to the facility. The cost of volunteer time and donated materials can be included in that total. This allows Second Stage to put its resources directly into the facility while at the same time increasing the value of the county’s asset – the lovely and historic former church.
We are already active in our third season of activities! At the request of our wonderful stalwart farmers, we opened this year’s market on April 23, and plan on continuing through October 29. It is up to all of us to make this market grow. The farmers will grow the produce, but you have to grow the market. Please come and purchase healthy local goods – and tell your friends to do the same. And we can’t thank the Town of Amherst enough for their continued generous support of the market. For the third straight year they have stepped forth with funding for this valuable resource.
As Mayor Paul Kilgore said, “A farmers market is something the Town has wanted for years. We could never produce it for the cost of our contribution to Second Stage.”
The market continues to sponsor music every third Thursday (and perhaps more often) and Second Stage is planning to begin an all new 2015 summer season of performances on July 31. Watch for details!
We hop to hear soon about our first grants and have embarked on our first major renovation project! The Virginia Commission for the Arts review panel has approved a grant to Second Stage|Amherst. But, in keeping with VCA policy, our building must be handicap accessible. The front doors are at ground level, but the present restrooms are not usable for all citizens, so we are in the process of creating new and fully accessible facilities.
We have our first renter! Amherst County Department of Recreation and Parks is bringing an aerobics class this week. Additionally, the Second Stage board is exploring the needs for renting the former classrooms, as well as public spaces, for both long-term and short-term rentals. We will be seeking small business renters, artists, classes, group meetings, weddings, reunions, and any other way this building can once again serve the Amherst County community.And we have received an important piece of equipment for a center such as ours. Nancy Bockstael has donated a piano. The spinet is in excellent condition and is a suitable size for gatherings and for piano classes. Thank you, Nancy!
So Second Stage|Amherst is well on its way and we’re picking up steam. AND ... we're ready for your help! Many of you have offered to help with both money and “sweat equity” in sprucing up the building. Due to the fast turn-around required for the aerobics classes beginning June 2, members of the board and community cleaned the downstairs community room, but there is much cleaning and many repairs needed that won’t require hiring professional services.
We will be holding an open house soon inviting you and the rest of Amherst to see our progress and learn of our plans and needs ... and how you can be a part of this exciting project. Again, watch for details … come join us ... and bring a friend!
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