TECUMSEH — Adams Park next to Tecumseh City Hall may soon be home to a new stage and amphitheater thanks to the generosity of the Elizabeth Ruthruff Wilson Foundation.
The foundation has already donated $29,000 toward the project and is expected to cover the whole cost, which so far, is estimated at approximately $148,000.
“We’ve always supported Music in the Park for years down there, and it always kind of bugged me that there wasn’t a stage. And there’s a defunct fountain that was built years ago and that got covered up and that was kind of what they were using, and it just kind of irked me always that it looked so bad, and something needed to be done,” Theresa Powers, executive director of the foundation, said.
The foundation operates out of Tecumseh and covers Lenawee County with music spending. During the pandemic, the foundation had to shift how it spent its grant dollars, Powers said.
“We had to change our granting ways of doing things because kids weren’t going to camp, teachers were so wrapped up in what they were trying to deal with that they weren’t asking for instruments,” Powers said. “So our grant requests just kind of went to the bottom, but we still have to give a certain amount a year. That’s the law.”
That’s when Powers and the foundation’s board started brainstorming. They came up with the idea of putting in a new stage and later expanded it to include seating.
“We were going to do a share thing where the city paid half, we paid half. Well then when COVID hit and we had all this extra money, we decided that we could do this,” Powers said. “With everything that’s happened we’ve decided to commit to the full thing.”
Adams Park has been the site of Tecumseh’s Music in the Park and Movies in the Park for many years. The current setup is not very functional, so the city’s parks and recreation department has had Krieghoff-Lenawee Co. of Adrian draw up a new site plan.
“We would remove old, aging concrete that is there and the fountain. It’s really been in disrepair for a number of years. So we would remove that to give us, one, better site lines to the stage for Music in the Park, but also we would have this be our site for Movies in the Park as well, so site lines are important for movies as we all know,” director of parks and recreation Sarah Gilmore said. “It also gives us some additional seating. So we would take out what is currently there as far as old concrete and put in new pathways and kind of highlight the stage more than the current design.”
Timbercraft of Tecumseh has drawn up a plan for the stage which it will build, and Gilmore said the city would use its resources to bring the cost of the project down.
“It’s an incredible opportunity for our parks, and what a great partnership and amazing gift from the foundation to be able to make some significant improvements to our parks and continue to offer things like Movies in the Park and Music in the Park at no cost for our residents,” Gilmore said.
The project is important to the foundation because Elizabeth Ruthruff Wilson was always about music, and this creates many opportunities for musicians, Powers said.
“She was always about music and our community and encouraged music in our community. And if we have a stage there, we figure that encourages people not only when we have Music in the Park there, but other small groups can perform there,” Powers said. “The school kids can perform there. And we like it at Adams Park because it’s right next to city hall. The park was aging and it needed to be revamped anyway and it’s right on the boulevard. So everybody can see it, it will get a lot of attention and we just think it will be a great asset to the community.”
There will be several steps before work can begin.
“This will probably go to our planning commission here for our city next and will head back to council for their ultimate approval,” Gilmore said. “Hopefully, we’ll start moving some dirt and doing some demolition here late fall into early winter; hoping to have our first Music in the Park in June on a new stage but there’s a few steps that we need to take before that can really happen.”