Donation latest piece in downtown picture

PUTTING TOGETHER A VIBRANT and attractive downtown can sometimes be like putting the pieces of a puzzle together.

Successfully putting one piece in the right place can lead to finding the next right piece to put in place and then another, until finally the entire picture comes together.

Often times, the pieces can fall into place in rapid succession, as it appears to be happening for Plymouth’s downtown right now.

The latest piece was the announcement last week that the city has received an anonymous $110,000 donation toward a planned open-air park shelter/performance pavilion that will be part of the rehabilitation of Stayer Park and the riverfront area south of Mill Street.

The donors, while they are not city residents, but grew up in Plymouth more than 50 years ago and “wish to support the community that helped provide (them) a memorable childhood,” City Administrator Brian Yerges said in the press release announcing the donation.

It comes at the same time as the Plymouth Lions Club has stepped up to donate $100,000 toward an all-inclusive, one-of-a-kind playground area on the riverfront to replace the Stayer Junior Park.

It’s the first step in the Lions Club’s goal to raise $300,000 for the park and the club has already gotten more than $50,000 in additional support from corporate sponsors, putting them more than halfway toward their target.

Reaching that goal would mean that the riverfront project would receive another $300,000 from the Stayer Family Foundation, which has pledged that amount as a matching grant for the project.

Work has already started on the new vision for the downtown riverfront, with the removal of the ramp to the Mill Street parking structure that will create more room for public space along the Mullet River.

Work is also moving forward on other parts of the plan, including new public restrooms, new pavement for parking and driving areas, burying electrical line, new park lighting, and trail and sidewalk improvements.

The anonymous donation will cover more than two-thirds of the expected cost of the pavilion/ shelter. That structure will create a true centerpiece for downtown Plymouth, available for live concerts, performances and other events that will bring visitors to downtown.

There is already plenty to bring visitors downtown, of course, whether it’s unique businesses, restaurants, stores and services; more than two dozen colorful and historic wall murals; cultural attractions like the Plymouth Arts Center and Plymouth Historical Society museum; and more.

By the end of summer, there should be still another attraction downtown – the Plymouth Cheese Counter/Cheese Heritage Center at 133 E. Mill St.

That project is well underway, a collaboration between the Redevelopment Authority and the Sheboygan County Economic Development Corp. When completed, it will provide an interactive museum/education center for the cheese industry that made Plymouth what it is today, along with a cheese store and lunch counter.

That center, like many of the other efforts downtown, has been a productive collaboration between the public and private sectors, supported by city government and financed in large part by private donations and support.

We don’t know who the anonymous donors are for the shelter/ pavilion on the riverfront are, but nevertheless we send them a great thank you for their contribution to making and keeping downtown Plymouth a place that draws visitors and customers alike.

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