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Artist conception of artwork in Heritage Park

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Board members of the Montpelier Community Foundation met Wednesday, October 17 to discuss upcoming events and project updates pertaining to the proposed Heritage Park in downtown Montpelier.

Along with approving the minutes and financial report, upcoming events were discussed. The foundation is sponsoring a free kids movie at Centre Theatre on the Friday after Thanksgiving Day otherwise known as “Black Friday” as part of the festivities sponsored by the Bear Lake-Montpelier, Idaho Chamber of Commerce. The movie is anticipated to be the 2018 version of “The Grinch” starring Benedict Cumberbatch and will start at 1 pm. The Chamber will have activities throughout the afternoon after the movie with Santa Clause scheduled to arrive by fire truck at the downtown Chamber offices and later officially turning on the city’s Christmas lights at dusk to kick off the holiday season in Montpelier.

Also, the Bear Lake Arts Council is performing the popular play “Clue” on November 6, 7 and 8 at the Bear Lake Middle School auditorium. Each show starts at 7:00 pm and tickets are sold at the door. Ticket prices are $5 for children and $9 for adults. Donations are also accepted to help cover the costs of the performances.

Most of the board meeting was spent discussing the proposed Heritage Park’s artistic murals and stone pavers with local artist Austin Budge and architect Jared Hope from Myers-Anderson Architects. Once the discussion concluded, the board passed a motion to retain Budge as the mural artist. The foundation would retain the rights to the murals for usage in any tourism marketing opportunities such as T-shirts to help raise funds for the park and other projects into the future. Hope and board members will seek for a vender to be able to cast the artwork to metal which is deemed to be a longer lasting medium for outdoor placement.

To reach its $150,000 fundraising goal for the park, the Montpelier Community Foundation will soon be offering the engraving of park stone pavers as a permanent remembrance in Heritage Park. Two sizes of pavers will be used in the park allowing individuals, families, foundations and businesses to donate for a paver to be engraved with a lasting recognition of the their support of the city’s heritage. In addition, a recognition wall for smaller donations will also be created inside the park. The paver and recognition wall campaigns will kick off in November 2021 after the program is fully planned. Formal grants and other corporate donations are also being submitted to help raise the needed funds for the project.

The foundation is raising the funds to pay for the covered performance stage, a Butch Cassidy bronze bench by former resident and sculptor Gary Lee Price, and six large 8 x 9 foot murals with interpretive signage depicting important parts of Montpelier history and resources. The current mural themes would represent the Oregon Trail, pioneer ancestry, Butch Cassidy, Bear Lake, Union Pacific railroad, and local wildlife that can be found in the valley. The interpretive signage would provide a description of why each topic is important to Montpelier’s history and future. In addition, the murals and Butch Cassidy bench will offer unique photo opportunities for tourists and community members.

Previously known as the Lions Club Park, the new Heritage Park will be located across Washington Street from city hall and almost next door to the Butch Cassidy Museum. The park renovation is slated to begin in spring 2022.

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