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October 14, 2008 12:01 am

Plaza Diane effort built on partnership

Written by Tribune Staff

Last Thursday, the State Loan and Investment Board approved full funding of the Community Facilities Grant request for the Plaza Diane — Community Center for the Arts.

The $944,000 grant will pay to refurbish the plaza — bringing gardens, shade and a splash pad outside and gallery, classroom and meeting space inside the rarely-used building.

The grant success is the good product of many area groups working together as partners.

The State Loan and Investment Board is made up of the state's top five elected officials. One board member commented that he was impressed with the many partnerships forged to support Plaza Diane.

The City of Powell stands tall as one of the Plaza's strongest partners. City officials — Mayor Mangold, city councilmen and others — recognized how the project could enhance the downtown area, both in appearance and activity, and they backed the project fully.

Other partnerships have been forged — with Park County School District No. 1, Northwest College and Homesteader Museum — to provide additional arts education in the community. The Powell Valley Chamber of Commerce, the Small Business Development Center and Powell Valley Community Education, have signed on as partners as well.

The Park County Arts Council and the Buffalo Bill Historical Center also see opportunities to better serve Powell by partnering with Plaza Diane.

Other groups, such as the Park County Farmers' Market and the Master Gardeners, are demonstrating their support of the Plaza already.

Overwhelmingly, these groups and organizations have seen that a community arts center and public gathering space will create opportunity and activity for people of all ages in our community. They also will bring so much to the table in terms of what Plaza Diane can offer the public once the improvements are in place.

It will be exciting to see what the next several months bring to the Plaza — the dramatic facelift will begin in late 2008 or early 2009. When the construction ends, the people of Powell will have a new center for activity and entertainment downtown.