‘Downtown Portage’ One Step Closer With Founders’ Field Performance Venue Groundbreaking

‘Downtown Portage’ One Step Closer With Founders’ Field Performance Venue Groundbreaking

The vision of a ‘Downtown Portage’ took another step towards becoming a reality on Tuesday as the City of Portage broke ground on the Founders’ Field Performance Venue in Founders’ Square.

“Two years ago at this time you’d walk through here and you had a water tower with barbed wire surrounding it,” said Portage Mayor James Snyder.

“To get somebody to come in and make a significant private investment into your downtown is somewhat difficult with barbed wire surrounding a water tower,” said Snyder. “We fixed that and the minute we finished Founders’ Square and the minute we approved Founders’ Square with the Redevelopment Commission we had company after company and developer after developer starting to look at the land all around us.”

“Today we are celebrating yet another beginning for our downtown,” Snyder said. “First we opened Founders’ Square, then we broke ground on Founder’s Fire Station behind us and soon the privately funded Founders’ Promenade will finally become a reality. But today, we celebrate the Founders’ Field Performance Venue. A new beginning that will last through many lifetimes and bring the community together through entertainment, public speech and activities of cultural significance. The Performance Venue will be the icon that generations will look to where they gained a sense of community that we love and call home.”

The Mayor’s Office, Parks Department and the Chamber of Commerce will be working together to build a sustainable system of festivities and activities that residents of Portage can count on for years to come. Portage High School along with the Portage High School Band will also have a hand in programming and performances at Founders’ Field Performance Venue.

“One of the interesting things about this pavilion is that the schools are going to be a big part of it and programming it,” Snyder said. “If you haven’t heard our high school band lately it is a treat to get to listen to them. They’re absolutely wonderful.”

Power and Sons Construction, based out of Gary, will be completing the project and Mike Sexton, Project Manager, was there speaking about the pavilion and when the project is slated to be completed

“As the mayor said it’s a little bit late for a groundbreaking but in our world that’s a good thing,” Sexton said. “That means cranking along. I’m happy to report that we’re surviving the spring as far as the entrance between the rains and when we can do our work. We are on schedule and I know you guys have a deadline for a fabulous July 4th long weekend with performances and the venue’s grand opening itself and we’re on track to meet that and we hope it’s wonderful for you guys for years to come.”

Stephen Kromkowski from DLZ Industrial, who designed the new Founders’ Field Performance Venue, spoke about the venue and how it incorporates into Founders’ Square.

“I just want to stress our appreciation to the Mayor, the City Council and the Redevelopment Commission,” said Kromkowski. “It’s a wonderful venue that you have here. It’ really rounds off Founders’ Square, the park as well as the Fire Station. It’s another public space for the city of Portage as well as the overall community. There’ll be a venue for performances whether it’s dance, literature or musical performances. It’s really a facility and a public space. We most definitely appreciate the opportunity to be a part of this and we look forward to the completion of it.”

For more information about Portage Parks and Recreation, go to: http://www.inportageparks.com/