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Freeport’s Arts Plaza makes progress during pandemic

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FREEPORT (WREX) — Challenges created by COVID-19 are now turning into momentum for the Freeport Art Museum. Its dream of opening the arts plaza is getting closer but some goals had to be changed.

The stage in downtown Freeport will soon be accompanied by music, dance and art. But the road to get that far hasn't been all that simple.

"Just the timing of the pandemic has created a ripple effect," said Arts Plaza Director Jessica Modica.

Modica says COVID-19 is like a tsunami. She says the waves hit at different times and each one causes damage.

"The manufacturing was delayed which caused a delay in us receiving materials. There's probably a hundred of those types of delay that all add up," said Modica.

"There was just, 'what do we do now,' thinking about some fundraising, operation grants that we received. Those little things that put that revenue into the museum allowed us to stay on schedule," said Freeport Art Museum Executive Director Jason Judd.

Orders are starting to come in now that the economy has slowly reopened and construction is ramping up.

"We were able to put the canopy in including the lights and the roof so those kinds of things were able to come in this summer. On Monday, we'll have a crew coming in to start to pour the concrete in for the splash pad," said Modica.

The Freeport Art Museum had an original goal of completing the plaza by the end of 2020. Modica says the space will be functional by then but other characteristics of the project, like public art, have been pushed back.

"I want to see people walking with an ice cream cone in their hand, sitting on the steps watching kids splash in the splash pad," said Modica.

The art museum expects the plaza to be fully open by the fall of 2021.

The Freeport Art Museum and the Freeport Park District's "Art in the Park" event has been cancelled due to COVID-19. Modica says it normally draw hundreds of people to the area and creates large revenue for local artists.

Cassandra Bretl

Multimedia Journalist
Cassandra is the morning reporter for 13 News Today.
She joined the WREX team in July of 2019 after graduating from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee with a major, minor and a certificate.
She is excited to bring her skills back to the 815 where she is originally from.
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