City Council gives back to the community with some outdoor entertainment

© 2017-Mountain Statesman

GRAFTON— Members of the Grafton City Council decided to make a purchase, as their way of giving back to the community, during their meeting on Tuesday evening.

This purchase came in the form of a portable outdoor theater.

According to City Manager Kevin Stead, the idea of a portable theater has been on the minds of council members for some time, and it was something they had asked him to look into.

“Other surrounding counties have things similar to this, and hold community movie nights. How great would it be for us to be able to offer the same to our residents,” expressed Vice Mayor Brenda Thompson.

Stead shared the specs of several different systems he had found, and explained the difference between each one.

The one that won council members over is a 14-foot tall and 12-foot wide, inflatable outdoor theater.

With over six-feet of viewing surface, the system also allows the display on the screen to be viewable from either side.

In addition, the chosen system does not need a continuous flow from an air compress to keep it inflated. Stead compared the way the movie theater inflates and seals, to that of a tire.

“Once it is blown up, and the air compressor is removed, it’s welded seams seal up just like a tire would,” he explained.

Stead further revealed that the system also has the capability of floating atop the surface of a pool, which would allow the city to host movie night at Grafton City Pool.

“I think this would be a great way to give back to our community. To be able to offer free movies in town or at the pool, to get people out and bring people together,” shared Thompson.

Council discussed several ideas and possibilities for the theater, including the possibility of using it to show the ball drop, in the downtown area, as part of a New Year’s Eve party.

“I enjoy all of these ideas. This is an exceptional way to give back to a community, that has done so much for us,” voiced Mayor Peggy Barney.

There is no specific date on when the system will arrive, or when the first use will be, at this time, according to Barney.

Council members also continued to work toward the purchase of a new fire truck, as well as the demolition of the old middle school building.

In regards to the old middle school, Stead reached out to the Taylor County Commission to request funding assistance, as the estimated cost to demolish the building is nearly $285,000. However, thus far the commissioners have not been back in touch with Stead.

Stead also reported that to date, the Public Works Department of Grafton has torn down 21 old and dilapidated structures.

The demolitions began on February 1, with the hopes of having at least 25 structures down before the end of the year.

“At the rate they are moving now, we will well surpass that number. And it is great. So many people are commenting on the properties that have now been cleared, and how refreshing it is to see some of the town’s worst eye sores be taken care of” commented Barney.

Thompson also shared that she has heard a tremendous amount of positive feedback from members of the community, and commended Stead on the work of the city employees.

A discussion was also held about the 2017 street-paving schedule, which is just another way the council is taking care of the community. Council members tossed around the names of several different streets that are in dire need of new asphalt. Stead told council that if they could think of any others, to let him know as soon as possible before the decision is made.

“There are many great things happening in our community,” added Barney. “Things that we can all be proud of. Things that we should all be a part of.”

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