Galva City Council to discuss issue at Jan. 28 meeting

Discussion will amp up later this month on the building of a permanent stage in Galva’s Wiley Park.

The park was the site of last year’s inaugural Levitt AMP Galva Music Series, and the music series returns in 2019 as the Galva Arts Council was once again awarded the Levitt Foundation’s $25,000 matching grant.

According to Levitt AMP Galva Music Series organizer John Taylor, a number of local businesses and individuals approached the music series leaders about building a permanent stage in the park.

The permanent stage will be on the agenda when the Galva City Council meets at 6 p.m. Monday, Jan. 28, at City Hall.

Naturally, the building of a stage comes down to one main factor — money.

“That’s a decision for the city council,” Galva City Administrator David Dyer said. “My part in this is to give them options. I don’t know that there’s any city council member against a permanent stage. I think the option boils down to money.”

Dyer said since he’s been Galva’s city administrator, the city’s park revenue has averaged $16,320 annually. The city takes care of Wiley, Veterans Memorial and Washington parks with that money. 

That revenue has helped fund several significant improvements in the parks — new picnic tables in conjunction with Galva’s John H. Best & Sons, new roofs and maintenance on the pavilions, and updated restrooms — in recent years.

“My story to the council is with those capital expenditures out of the way, we can put some money into a stage,” Dyer said. 

Just how much money? Dyer anticipated after setting aside nearly $8,500 annually for maintenance of those parks, the city could put about $7,500 per year into a stage as a capital investment.

So what does $7,500 per year buy in terms of a stage? 

Dyer said a starting point might be a 20-year loan for $90,000 — the question then becomes how much does the city council want to undertake.

“I think everybody would agree that it would certainly be a credit to the City of Galva to have a permanent stage,” Dyer said.

A strong pool of volunteer labor is ready to help offset some of the expenses involved in building a permanent stage.

“We have a good group of volunteers. We have people champing at the bit to help with this,” Dyer said.

Taylor said groups in Middlesboro, Ky. and Earlham, Iowa — both Levitt AMP recipients who recently constructed permanent stages — have been contacted about their designs as they both built stages using largely donated materials and volunteer labor.

Dyer said any public structure of any note has to have an architect’s stamp or structural engineer’s stamp for safety purposes, which adds to the cost, but those expenses can be offset with volunteer labor.

“$90,000 certainly won’t build the entire thing,” Dyer said. 

“Building the stage incrementally, first the roof structure and then the stage deck, as resources allow, has also been discussed as the wooden stage which was used in 2018 only had a sunshade overhead and did not provide shelter in the event of rain,” Taylor said.

Dyer said initially the footings can be poured, the concrete stage set and roof structure components set, then the “bells and whistles” could be added later. 

“It would make it more attractive for any group to perform at Wiley Park,” Dyer said. “I have no doubt in my mind that Galva can become a music hub — especially when you have folks putting their hearts and souls into it. They have the vision and are driving it.”