Hastings newest attraction opened Thursday; the Thornapple Plaza, a spacious band shell that will give musicians, artists and entertainers a place to entertain visitors and residents.
Hastings City Manager Jeff Mansfield welcomed the crowd to the Grand Opening of the Plaza and recognized many people who worked on and helped with the its development.
But he credited Larry and Earlene Baum, through the Baum Family Foundation, for making the Plaza a reality by completely funding the newest venue in Hastings that makes it a destination for visitors. The foundation funded the $1.1 million for the band shell and concession carved into a hill next to the River Walk and the Thornapple River.
Mayor Frank Campbell gave a little information on the background of the plaza, recalling that the late David Jasperse told him he thought the location was perfect for a band shell if the city could find the funding to build it.
Larry Baum, with his wife Earlene standing beside him, said: “We just want to thank you people for making this such a wonderful community. Also I’d really like to thank Jeff Mansfield. We could never have done this without his help… and all the people from the city that worked on this project for us, too. Hastings has an awful lot of talent in the arts and this will really give them a place to show what we do have in this community.” His remarks were followed by a traditional ribbon cutting, with him wielding the huge scissors, symbolically opening the plaza.
The first event in the new facility was a performance by the Hastings High School Steel Drum Band which also marked the opening of the Thornapple Arts Council’s three-day Jazz Festival.
Larry and Earlene Baum at the Grand Opening of the Thornapple Plaza.