Esko's Northridge Park stage will get an upgrade
The stage will most likely need to be relocated onto a concrete slab, which will be poured within the park.
The Northridge Park stage in Esko is in need of repairs, according to Thomson Township officials and an Esko resident, who say the stage support posts and stairs are beginning to give way.
The issue was called to the Thomson Town Board's attention Thursday, June 17, when Esko resident Dawson Broman informed them of the stage's structural issues. Broman said the stairs and one of the back support posts for the stage seemed to be sinking.
He shared that he had spoken with a contractor who recommended reinforcing the problem post and relocating the stairs from the front of the stage to the sides. The contractor estimated total costs to be around $1,500, of which Broman said he would donate $1,000.
The Northridge Park stage is of personal importance to Broman, who originally spearheaded the building of the stage as his Eagle Scout project after he noticed musicians playing in the open field area of Northridge Park. He brought the idea for a community stage before the board in 2016 and completed the project in 2018.
Funding for the stage was sourced solely from local donations totaling approximately $19,000, according Broman, who estimated that community volunteers donated 500 hours of labor during stage construction. The stage is free for public use, and the town board provides free electricity for the venue.
“It was incredible," Broman said when recalling the community's efforts.
While the board recognized the need for repairs to the stage, board member Tony Compo suggested the alternative solution of moving the stage onto a concrete slab in the park.
According to Compo and Thomson Township engineer Joe Jurewicz, the frost in the ground will continue to negatively affect the posts supporting the stage, causing it to continue to shift. They believed pouring a concrete slab and relocating the stage would offer a more permanent solution to the problem.
“It’s just gonna keep heaving," Jurewicz said. “A slab might be the best solution.”
The board agreed to the solution, and agreed to fund the project using the township's park fund.
Town board member Bill Gerard voiced frustration over the situation, and said township officials originally advised Broman on how to build the stage.
Vice Chair Ruth Janke felt the township should keep moving forward.
“I think, as a township, that we should go ahead and rectify the situation," she said.
Board member Jason Paulson commended Broman for his generosity, but said Broman's time would be the best donation of all.
Broman said that while the board's solution was unexpected, he would be more than happy to plan the repairs. He plans to reach out to possible contractors for bids in the near future.