Exciting Changes Ahead!
Cedar Summerstock to take a more
prominent role at South Square!
One of the greatest blessings as well as challenges of this amazing, crazy journey we call life is the different seasons a person experiences. Sometimes, in the moments we least expect, an opportunity arises to do something big. Bigger than we ever imagined ourselves doing. Something that positively effects not only ourselves and family, but also our community at large.
In those moments we are given a choice to act or to let that moment pass by. In St. Ansgar we have been blessed to have had several such moments within our community, opportunities to “do” and make unbelievable differences in the fabric of our town. One opportunity came looking like an old school building. With that opportunity, we began a life changing season of full steam ahead, chasing a dream shared by many, to save and repurpose our beloved school building. This possibility would forever preserve and change the landscape of our unique little town.
In 2016 citizens and alumni of St. Ansgar responded with passion to the cry for saving our old elementary building from certain demolition. The building was indeed saved and repurposed, now called “South Square” it has become a busy hub of community activity.
Through these past seven years, countless volunteers have given endless hours of time away from their own work and families to make this dream of preserving our historic school and giving our citizens a space, they can use and be proud of, a reality.
It’s not always been easy, in fact this project has been one of the hardest, most time-consuming things we have ever been a part of. The logistics of day-to-day operations, the paperwork, grants, taxes, and challenges that come with multiple opinions and ideas all trying to mesh together to achieve the best outcome possible has, at times, made us question our sanity. But even with all that, at the end of the day it’s all so very worth it. To see what our community has achieved with South Square is nothing short of amazing!
At the same time in 2016 when we were busy nurturing our newly minted community center another passionate group was developing what would become a nationally recognized musical theater program right here in St. Ansgar, Cedar Summerstock Theater. These two non-profits have grown side by side, each bringing something unique and irreplaceable to our citizens and community.
In the last years South Square has more than proven it deserves to be a permanent fixture in the landscape of our community, constantly in use and busy. We are now turning our attention to the future. Looking at the long-term sustainability of South Square, we have a new opportunity on the horizon!
South Square is excited to announce that Cedar Summerstock Theater is going to be taking a more premiant role in our building. Throughout the year CST by far uses South Square the most in terms of sheer number of hours and square footage needed. It makes logical sense then that the group who uses the building the most would be the right choice to take on more of the responsibilities associated with everyday happenings of South Square.
June 1,2023 will begin the transition of CST becoming the governing nonprofit of South Square. By taking physical possession of South Square, CST can utilize grant funds that our current non-profit (St Ansgar Historical School Project) does not qualify for. This change of governing nonprofits will also relieve some pressure from our volunteers who spend so much time making sure South Square runs smoothly.
So, what does this mean for our beloved South Square?
Good news! It’s still our community center and still available for our citizens to use just like always! The biggest change will be the non-profit who holds the building and manages day-to-day operations. The name and purpose of the building will not change, just a bit of leadership role. CST is in a better position to qualify for grant funding for repairing and maintaining the building and this will also give CST the opportunity to expand their use of the building as well!
When our historic elementary building was first marked for demolition back in 2016, as a community we could not just stand back and let that happen. We came together to see what, if anything could be done and just how this building could continue to serve its community. Even back then the ending use of South Square really didn’t matter as long as the building got a second chance at new life. So today things are changing again in this celebrated building, a bit of a new path, and we are excited to see how this place can keep on giving back to our citizens.
As the new changes are made to the “back side” of running things at South Square, you probably won’t see much of a change in the day-to-day use and availability of the facility.
Your favorite events and classes will still be happening, you can still come play BINGO grab a coffee or rent the gym for your Grad party, it’s just the name behind the bill paying will be different, and that’s ok.
We made and are continuing to make a positive difference at South Square.
YOU, ST. ANSGAR are making a positive difference in each other’s lives thru South Square every day! Together let’s welcome CST non-profit in their expanded role in our community center.
Together, we can make St. Ansgar the best little hometown our families will ever have the privilege of calling home!