By Sue Moore
With Prohibition long gone, how many speakeasies can you go to in this day and age, ask organizers of a fundraiser for the Vicksburg Vision Capital Campaign. They hope later this month to entice people to a speakeasy at the Community Center to have fun playing blackjack, poker, roulette and craps while giving their winnings and lots more money to the cause.
The campaign can’t accept money for gambling chips. Instead, it will have computers out to donate online to the Liberty Lane East project or to the general campaign. The top winners in chip totals will get prizes.
Those in attendance will not have to knock three times at the center’s door to get in; they will have been sent an invitation to attend with a password enclosed. The event is scheduled for Saturday, February 20 from 6-10 p.m., with hundreds hoped for in attendance according to the organizers.
There will be dancing to the tune of former members of the high school jazz band led by Director Ben Rosier, heavy hors d’oeuvres, drinks, and the table games to keep the evening rolling along, says Donna Cratsenburg-Scott, chair of the family division of the campaign. She will be assisted by Adrian McClelland, Mary Ruple, and Michelle Morgan.
They want folks in attendance to help fulfill the promises of making the village an even better place to live. Projects that the overall funding will help build include the trail development, Liberty Lane East renovation, Clark Park promenade, parking lots rebuilding and streetscape plans for downtown.
They expect to have a computer set up that isn’t for gambling but for giving to the crowdfunding campaign that has been inaugurated to raise the money specifically for the renovation of Liberty Lane East. The crowdfunding site will match dollar for dollar the donations, including those raised at the “speakeasy” event, until it reaches the $50,000 goal by March 8. That will mean $100,000 in the kitty for work on the project, according to Kathleen Hoyle, executive director of the Downtown Development Authority. The site is accessible at http://www.patronicity.com/project/liberty_lane_east#/
Liberty Lane East is part of the Vicksburg Downtown Development (DDA) Placemaking effort. This effort began with a public visioning session in which the community strongly expressed its desire to have a downtown district that embraces its rich heritage by showcasing boutique shops in historic storefronts, and offering dynamic dining, event and entertainment experiences. Liberty Lane will turn a dark, rundown alley into a vibrant Victorian garden path offering a pedestrian only passage connecting the S. Kalamazoo St. and S. Main St. shopping and dining areas.
Other events the family division expects to promote include a March 5 car wash in anticipation of tearing down a building at the corner of Richardson and North Streets to construct the trailhead, a vision geocaching and scavenger hunt fundraiser on April 16 from 11 to 2 p.m., a Vicksburg Vision Race on June 18, and a Vision Scrambled Scramble golf outing on May 21 at Angels Crossing.
The overall goal of the family division of the campaign is $250,000, Hoyle said. Grants and other sources of income bring the total campaign effort to $2.7 million, with the money raised locally to be used for matching funds to the grants.