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Work on Buena Vista’s McPhelemy Stage project is coming along smoothly, as it inches closer to completion.

As of February 2023, the physical construction is complete and a Certificate of Occupancy (CO) has been obtained, meaning the new stage is up to Chaffee County code. With a projected completion date of mid-June 2023, there are still quite a few items on the to-do list. This includes the electricity source, lighting, backstage area design, landscape design, wheelchair accessibility, and the likely addition of a six-foot privacy wall concealing the restroom entrance from the audience’s view.

“We gotta focus on our immediate needs to get the stage up and running,” legacy donor and project partner Tom Rollings explained.

One major question the McPhelemy Stage faced was whether or not to provide house sound equipment. After much deliberation, it was decided that it was best if each band/act provide their own sound system if they choose to use one. This provides flexibility to all bands/acts involved and minimizes the McPhelemy Stage’s audio responsibilities.

In addition to the finer details left for the stage itself, there is still another major beautification project left to complete. Due to the cold ground and winter conditions, the ceremonial bricklaying of the commemorative bricks sold by the Buena Vista (BV) Chamber of Commerce is scheduled to occur midway through May 2023.

In the summer of 2022, the BV Chamber of Commerce raised money for the McPhelemy Stage project by selling engraved bricks of different sizes that families or individuals could purchase for varying prices. More than 230 engraved legacy bricks were sold and will be laid meticulously into a designated area within McPhelemy Park. The bricks, say project representatives, are a reminder of the strength, endurance, and sense of community that BV has always embodied.

The legacy brick fundraiser was so successful that the Chamber of Commerce recently made a $34,000 grant donation to the Town of BV according to BV Chamber Executive Director Heather Rupska.

Once the stage is completed, McPhelemy Park will finally be properly equipped to host the plethora of events planned for this summer and fall. The town’s Thursday night Concerts in the Park series will be moved onto the stage.

In addition, Rollings explains there are plans to host rock ‘n’ roll picnics, bluegrass events, and possibly even themed picnics. For Rollings, the Town of BV, and the Chamber of Commerce, this stage will be an open canvas for art and expression.

“It’s going to be a phenomenal design and a statement of the legacy our community is leaving,” beamed Rupska.

Once the project is 100 percent complete, a large community celebration and grand opening is planned to christen the McPhelemy Park Stage as a new member of the BV community. Stay tuned for more announcements as the stage nears its expected completion date of mid-June.

Featured image: McPhelemy Stage in progress. Photo by Landon James.