By Summer Ballentine
Mason Times staff writer
The Mason City Council voted Feb. 21 to begin raising funds for the creation of a stage in Rayner Park.
Construction of the stage will cost approximately $15,000, although bidding for construction has not yet taken place. Construction will be funded entirely by donations and other fundraising, City Administrator Marty Colburn said.
Several local contractors have agreed to donate their time to help build the stage, Mason Mayor Leon Clark said. A local service organization already has discussed funding about two-thirds of the cost as well, he added. The organization wishes to remain anonymous until the decision has been finalized, Clark said.
Mason resident Pat Hayhoe said finding a way to fund maintenance for Rayner Park should be city administrators’ first priority, as opposed to looking to create a new facility in the park.
“Even mowing the grass at the park is a problem now — it’s done by private volunteers,” he said.
The city of Mason bought Rayner Park from Ingham County after the county no longer could afford to maintain the property. The park was reopened in June 2010.
The city has struggled to find fund and maintain the park, Clark said. Hosting concerts and performances at the park could help raise funds for maintenance, he said.
“The idea itself came from some citizens as a means of creating funds to offset the cost of maintenance in the park,” he added.
However, hosting events at Rayner Park might bring business away from downtown Mason, Hayhoe said. In the summer, community events are hosted monthly in the courthouse.
“(I support) anything we can do to boost businesses in downtown Mason,” he said. “The courthouse is absolutely spectacular – I would like to see (community events) kept downtown.”
Events held at Rayner Park will be scheduled around any events in the courthouse, Clark said.
“I think they will compliment each other,” he said. “The proposal to (create) the stage in Rayner Park (is) not meant to complete with events that are happening in the downtown area.”
If funding is found and the stage is built, it will be a testament to community efforts, Clark said.
“It’s truly going to be a facility that’s built for the community, by the community,” he said.