Official Name of Public Space

Pfiffner Pioneer Park

Site Address

1100 Crosby Avenue, Stevens Point, Wisconsin

How will your Levitt AMP [Your City] Music Series reflect the essence of the Levitt AMP Grant Awards?

Stevens Point has a rich music scene. Home to the first Suzuki Institute outside of Japan and one of two accredited fine arts colleges in Wisconsin, music education is at its finest here. But bringing that culture out of the classroom and into public spaces has been a challenge. About ten years ago, CREATE partnered with the Jazz Studies program at UWSP to provide greater exposure to jazz and blues music through our Riverfront Jazz Festival, and the city of Stevens Point’s Riverfront Rendezvous celebrates the Fourth of July weekend with heritage bands and local musicians. Still, there is room to grow access to our strong music scene through strategic investments in programming. The Levitt series will enable CREATE to bring in diverse music styles that are often difficult to support in smaller markets. The free concerts will prioritize impact over tickets sales and take risks with our selection in hopes of maximizing access to varied art forms. By pairing these concerts with local musicians and institutions, we will foster pride in the depth of our strong culture of music. Finally, Stevens Point is overcoming an era of city planning that cut off our downtown with major highways. At its heart, this investment for us is a placemaking endeavor that highlights the incredible riverfront and its renewed access to Main Street. These concerts will show off our thriving city center, which is fostering stronger community again as people move back into historic neighborhoods.

How will your town or city benefit from the Levitt AMP [Your City] Music Series?

Across the country, small communities are struggling to attract new professionals as people choose to re-urbanize. Research indicates that this trend is motivated by a thirst for dense communities with rich entertainment amenities. With public art, business attraction, and vibrant experiences, CREATE is infusing new life into our city center in hopes of offering a small-town model of contemporary living. The Levitt series will play a key role in these investments. Our gorgeous riverfront parks, with their proximity to downtown, are unique assets to the Stevens Point community. These events will highlight the rare balance of urban entertainment and natural environs that a small city like ours can offer. Participants will take in picturesque sunsets along the wide Wisconsin River while listening to top-quality musical acts, starting or ending these experiences with food and beverage from walkable restaurants or in-park food vendors. We believe these investments are not only vital to attracting new professionals but also to enriching the lives of residents already choosing Central Wisconsin as their home. Families will enjoy appropriate programming alongside other kid-friendly recreation. Retirees will gain an opportunity for positive socialization. High school kids will see incredible talent while hanging out with friends in safe spaces. While these investments are motivated by a specific challenge to our community, the benefits will be felt across all age groups.

Describe the site where the free concerts will be held. Explain how the Levitt AMP [Your City] Music Series will play a role in enlivening the selected public space and surrounding areas.

As a community founded on the Wisconsin River, the space at Pfiffner Park ties directly to the city’s history and sense of identity. Pfiffner Pioneer Park includes the specific point that George Stevens used as the logging stop which became Stevens Point. The bandshell was dedicated in 1977 as a Bicentennial project, resulting from a fundraising effort to give the City Band (dating back to 1890) a permanent performance space. Since that time, Pfiffner Park has been used for City Band concerts as well as for limited community events, including the annual July 4th weekend festival, Riverfront Rendezvous. Through the city’s comprehensive planning process, residents have voiced a desire to program more frequent, accessible events that would help bring community members downtown and along the riverfront. The Levitt AMP series would allow us to build upon Riverfront Rendezvous by extending music offerings beyond a single weekend to a full summer series. The space is outdoors with lawn seating in front of and around the bandshell.