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Solon Arts Center Hopes To Build Patio, Outdoor Stage By Summer

Solon Center for the Arts Executive Director Karen Prasser said she has raised money for the project through sponsorships.

The is looking to build a patio with an outdoor stage by this summer and pay for it entirely through corporate sponsorships.

The Arts Center is currently searching for an architect to design the patio, which Executive Director Karen Prasser said will create a unique gateway to the Arts Center by creating a multi-use space that can be an outdoor performance and classroom, a nice area to host events and fundraisers or just a peaceful space to read a book or listen to music.

"This can be an entry into the city and the arts center," she said. "It would be a lovely outdoor space."

The new patio would be built in the location of the existing one on the side of the building, which Prasser said is falling into disrepair. The portable stage, used for events such as the popular Chill N Grills and other outdoor events, is in bad shape and many need to be replaced if the patio isn't upgraded.

Concepts for the new patio are still preliminary, but include an outdoor stage that can double as a deck with a patio surrounded by a brick wall with plenty of trees. The early concept calls for a sail-like covering.

The concept originated in 2010. Since then,Prasser has been hard at work collecting sponsorships to help pay for the work. An early cost opinion said it would cost about $225,000.

After years of work, things are moving. Prasser said she has obtained a $125,000 sponsorship by University Hospital's Ahuja Medical Center, a sponsorship that will win UH the naming rights for the patio.

Prasser has also received a $25,000 sponsorship from the Corrine L Dodero Foundation for Arts and Sciences, a Solon based charity. Prasser said she has also received a committment for $50,000, but its not finalized and she can't reveal details yet.

The Arts Center has also raised $5,500 by working with the Solon Rotary Club to sell engraved brick pavers that will be used in the patio. If you'd like to purchase a brick, download the form attached to this article.

Prasser said she won't really know how much the work will cost until designs are done, and they are prepared to modify their plans depending on costs.

The Solon Finance Committee signed off on recruiting an architect. And while time is short to get the project done by this summer, Prasser said they are working hard to do that.

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