Local businesses give huge donation to Creekside Pavilion project

Managing Editor

An architect’s rendering shows the proposed Pavilion, which will provide an outdoor entertainment venue.

Image courtesy of Karen Sweeney

The proposed Creekside Market Place and Pavilion is well on its way, thanks to a quarter of a million dollar donation by two local businesses. Creekside Committee members announced Tuesday that First Bank of Montana and Allied Steel made substantial pledges to the Creekside project.

Committee member Karen Sweeney said the joint donation earned the businesses naming rights for the pavilion, an outdoor performance stage planned for the project. Sweeney said officials from First Bank of Montana and Allied Steel requested the pavilion be named in honor of the bank.

 “We are thrilled with this incredible donation by First Bank of Montana and Allied Steel,” Sweeney said. “These businesses realize the positive economic and social impacts this project will have on Lewistown. We are humbled by their generosity.”

In addition to the $250,000 donation, Sweeney said other large donations also have been received.

“A $100,000 pledge from Frank and Patty Thompson in mid-November gave us the momentum needed to kick-off the fundraising effort,” she said.

The project, to be built next to Big Spring Brewery, was brought to life through the Recharge Our Community training in the fall of 2015. Sweeney, and many others in the community, took advantage of the training, which focused on processes to reinvigorate the area’s economy based on its existing assets. The Youth Engagement Committee of which Sweeney is a member, after surveying younger residents of the Lewistown area, identified a need for an outdoor performance venue. That concept evolved into the Creekside Marketplace and Pavilion project.

Last year the Lewistown City Commission took the lead on the project, as the land to be developed is owned by the City and is part of the Lewistown Trail System. The City Park and Recreation board voted in late 2017 to add the project, when completed, to the list of City parks.

Lewistown City Manager Holly Phelps supports the project, and said she was excited about the new donation.

“This very generous donation from two local businesses will go a long way toward completing the Creekside Marketplace and Pavilion project,” Phelps said, adding, “It is our hope this project sparks additional redevelopment in our downtown, and that it provides a gathering space for visitors and locals.”


Businesses impressed by plan

Obviously leaders at both First Bank and Allied Steel agree with the City Manager.

 “First Bank of Montana is proud to be part of this great project,” Bank President Dean Comes said. “We believe this will be one more significant attraction that will bring people to our community.” 

Allied Steel’s President Jeff Southworth shares that opinion, saying, “The Creekside project is going to be a necessary vehicle our community can use to drive new economy into our new and existing businesses. As a bonus, after the funding is secured, there is no reason the Creekside development can’t self-fund into the future. This project, in conjunction with several others currently going on in our town, is proof real community enhancement is upon us. This is an exciting time for Lewistown and its local businesses.”

Project architects estimate the total project cost at  just under $1.5 million, according to Sweeney. The Creekside Committee included an extra $200,000 in their fundraising goal, in order to provide endowment funds for future capital improvements at the site. The Committee’s goal, Sweeney said, is to raise $850,000 from private donations and fundraising events, with the remaining $634,000 coming from grants and other funding resources.

“The pledges from First Bank of Montana and Allied pushed the total amount secured from private cash donations and pledges to over $450,000, which is 53 percent of our goal,” Sweeney said. “This new commitment from First Bank and Allied Steel will enable us to keep that momentum going,” she added.


Area focus of several redevelopment efforts

Momentum may be the term of the moment for that area of Lewistown, which has seen significant improvements in recent years, including the construction of Trailhead Park just across the street from the proposed new development, and, right next door, Big Spring Brewery, under construction in the old WestFeeds building.

These efforts have not been lost on the Creekside donors.

“It takes so many moves to create real momentum,” Southworth said. “This is a unique time for our town because the moves are not words, they are in play.  Where we land as a community is up to us.”    

Allied Steel’s Managing Partner Julie Walsh agreed, saying “Lewistown is fortunate to have so many groups dedicated to forward movement.  We love Lewistown, we are excited for the vision of this area, and it is our pleasure to be ‘value added’ on this project.”

Meanwhile, fundraising efforts for the Creekside project continue.

“We still have several components for which naming rights are available,” Sweeney said, adding that the group is thankful for any donation, large or small.

Inquires can be directed to City Manager Phelps at 535-1760, or to Snowy Mountain Development Corporation at 535-2591.



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