MUSCATINE, Iowa–Muscatine residents enjoying the riverfront will see several changes coming soon. At the Aug. 6 Muscatine City Council meeting, Keep Muscatine Beautiful received permission to go ahead with a lighting and amphitheater project slated to begin this year.
Chris Boar and Brenda Christensen, two members of Keep Muscatine Beautiful, found the inspiration for the project at last year’s Almost Friday Fests. These events lasted well into the evening, even after it started to get dark. Vendors at the gatherings also did not have electricity at the site, forcing them to use loud, ugly generators. Looking to resolve these issues in the future, Boar and Christensen came up with a plan to bring lighting and electricity to the part of Riverside Park nearest the basketball courts. Additionally, as part of a Leadership Muscatine project, they look forward to building an amphitheater for future Almost Friday Fests and other concerts too.
Muscatine Power and Water and Musco lighting willingly pledged to support the project, donating a combined $70,000 worth of in kind materials and labor. Keep Muscatine Beautiful has provided an additional $10,000, and the City of Muscatine hopes to allocate $16,000 to it as well from their fiscal year 2022 budget.
To fully complete the project, Keep Muscatine Beautiful will need to raise an additional $44,000. An anonymous supporter has pledged to match up to $20,000 of additional donations. If you would like to support Keep Muscatine Beautiful’s fundraising efforts, you can donate to their Go Fund Me page (https://charity.gofundme.com/o/en/campaign/lets-light-up-the-muscatine-riverfront-for-the-almost-friday-fest1 fbclid=IwAR1_l3m2iZgzfTrhPJr1lxVh_sUm9fDFIoQMWEzfUfTonpiZTWoZnWZrAXk) or by contacting the Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine at 563-264-3863.
With initial funding in place, Keep Muscatine Beautiful will begin work on the lighting project this month. If everything goes as planned, lighting bases will go in before the end of August. The lighting itself and electrical outlets will get installed in September with work wrapping up before the end of the month. Keep Muscatine Beautiful has not released a timeline for when they hope to complete work on the amphitheater.
Once finished, Keep Muscatine Beautiful hopes the enhanced lighting and amphitheater will benefit not only future Almost Friday Fests but other community gatherings as well. “I would love to see similar entertainment events on the Muscatine riverfront that you see happening in the Quad Cities, Dubuque, and Cedar Rapids–all we really need is people who are willing to make it happen,” mused Christiansen.
As Keep Muscatine Beautiful’s latest endeavor gets underway, Boar and Christensen feel excited about the possibilities it opens for the riverfront and thankful for the support they have received. “We have had great success with Almost Friday Fest and I feel humbled from the support of the community,” said Boar. “We are hoping that support continues and we can keep moving forward to making Muscatine (residents) proud of their city and riverfront.”
Christiansen added: “The City and the City Council have both been very support of this event and other events that Keep Muscatine Beautiful has done in the past. We are excited to receive the support and funding from the City for the project.”