What seemed a dying dream has turned into the Little Engine that Could. “I think I can, I think I can.” “I know I can, I know I can.”
Assuming a co-presidency for the Napoleon Civic Center last Fall, Steve and Julie Busch (who stopped the wrecking ball that seemed destined for the Napoleon Armory) are driving the Little Engine that Could in an uphill climb. The goal is $1.3 million to repurpose part of Napoleon’s old Central School into a performing arts and athletic center serving Henry County and the outlying areas.
“It took a lot of work for Ken Neuenschwander and his team to get the Napoleon Civic Center organization off and running,” commented Steve recently. “With Ken’s failing health and other unforeseen circumstances, it looked like the project was stuck in its tracks.”
“But we have a new load of fuel for climbing that hill,” smiles Julie. “Part of it is the name change from Napoleon Civic Center to the Cultural Center of Henry County. This opens up the project to the entire county and even beyond.”
Board Treasurer Mark Schwiebert from Hamler, adds: “The ‘#HenryHas’ marketing theme presented to the Commissioners recently is a nice way of promoting all the plusses that Henry County can offer to new businesses. One amenity missing, though, was the project we are working on—a performing arts and athletic center. That will be the frosting on the cake.”
Recently, an anonymous donor came forward to pay the debt owed to the Napoleon Civic Center’s architect, G5. “We are certainly grateful for this person’s generosity, Schwiebert said. “And we have completed the paperwork process to be exempt from real estate taxes.”
“Roger Fisher [executive director] and Peg McDonald [marketing director] of the Defiance Cultural Center have provided a lot of direction that we plan to follow,” committee member Gary Westhoven commented. “Their lineup of performances hits all ages. That’s what we hope to provide for Henry County. The building has two large gymnasiums for athletic and fitness activities.” The auditorium can seat up to 700.
Public tours of the building are being planned for the near future.
To help the Little Engine that Could climb the hill, thank you for considering a gift for the Cultural Center of Henry County, P. O. Box 585, Napoleon, OH 43545.