Forest City, Iowa – “WOW”, those were the first words utter from Iowa’s Lt. Governor Adam Gregg when he stepped into the Boman Fine Arts Center theater for the first time Wednesday morning. Gregg is touring Iowa as part of his and Governor Reynolds’ 99 County tour.
The Boman Fine Arts Center is a destination that Gregg has had on his ‘to-do list’ for some time now. “It gives us a great opportunity to understand the assets in all of our rural communities.” He continued by saying, this is something I’ve heard about and wanted to make it to.”
The ground was broken for the 630 seat facility in the spring of 2017, and its official grand opening took place in October 2018. The project was partially funded by a Community Attraction and Tourism Grant from the Iowa Economic Development, which peaked the Lt. Governors’ interest in the facility. The grant amount was $624,501, just under a tenth of nearly 10 million dollars total cost.
“The thing that really makes this project special is the amazing amount of partners,” Gregg said. “It took a strong community and strong community organizations coming together,” he said.
The facility has hosted a Beach Boy Tribute Band and an Iowa Supreme Court hearing already in its short life. Gregg says he ‘can’t wait for the pandemic to end’ and says he ‘can’t wait to come back’ to take in a show.
“I also see it as a great asset for a potential meeting space down the road,” Gregg said. “Occasional we have meetings across the state, we pride ourselves on having meetings in rural places and highlighting all the great work that’s going on in those communities,” Gregg explained.
Since the pandemic has paused concerts, shows, and performances, for the time being, the Boman Fine Arts Center has been transformed into a nearly 100 seat socially distanced meeting space and classrooms for Waldorf University students. “We have transitioned into more of an academic space and more of a meeting space,” said facility manager, Dan May. “It’s one of the few places in the area that has enough space that people can spread out and be socially distanced – it’s very busy right now,” May continued by saying.
Tensions did run high for a brief moment when a passerby – who introduced herself as a teacher – approached the group by saying, “do you speak on behalf of the governor” she frantically asked the Lt. Governor. Following a reply of ‘yes’ from Adam Gregg, the now emotional teacher first thanked Lt. Governor Gregg, for wearing a mask but then criticized the Reynolds’ administration for their return-to-learn plan for both high school and college students in Iowa. Gregg listened to the disgruntled teacher’s statement attentively. Following her brief statement, the teacher thanked everyone standing near for wearing a mask and walked away.
Later, when asked about Governor Reynolds’ response to the coronavirus, Gregg said, “I’m very proud of the way governor Reynolds had led our state during this unprecedented global pandemic.” He also said, “These are issues that none of us could’ve anticipated heading into 2020, and I think she has led very admirably.”
Forest City Mayor Bryon Ruiter:
Iowa Lt. Governor Adam Gregg:
Dan May Boman Fine Arts Center Manager
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