Coming soon to a park near you - free outdoor movies. No line, no fees and no restrictions on outside food. In the upcoming months, Wood River Township will start hosting outdoor film screenings on an inflatable movie screen under the stars at Kutter Park in East Alton. Officials learned Thursday that the township received a $19,400 grant through Madison County Community Development funding that will allow them to purchase a 16-foot-by-10-foot inflatable outdoor movie screen, projector and sound system.
"I'm really excited about what we are going to do for the public," Township Supervisor Cathy Nevels said.
Nevels said that Trustee Tom McRae brought the idea to her about applying for a grant for an outdoor movie program. Each year, the township applies for a grant for its parks, and this year, officials wanted to do something a little different.
"I think it's a great thing for the community," McRae said. What could be more fun, he said, than bringing lawn chairs to the park and watching an outdoor film with your family, friends and neighbors?
"During these hard economic times, we will be able to offer the public the ability to come out and do something for free," he said.
The outdoor cinema idea was borrowed from nearby Edwardsville, which offered movies in its City Park adjacent to the Edwardsville Public Library last summer, McRae said.
Nevels said that grant to pay for the outdoor movie theater is $15,397. She said the grant also would be used to pay for a licensing agreement that will allow the township to show movies legally.
"The rest of the funding would then be used to make landscaping improvements in both Kutter and Betty Browning Park (in Cottage Hills)," Nevels said.
Other municipalities' parks and recreation departments also could use the outdoor cinema equipment.
"We could have a co-operative agreement where the equipment could be used by Hartford, Bethalto or East Alton," McRae said.
Nevels said it has not yet been determined what films the township will show. She said the Bank of Edwardsville has offered to provide water to guests at the outdoor movie premiere.
"We would definitely be interested in any business that wants to sponsor a night at the movies," she said.
McRae said Madison County Board member Christopher Slusser, R-Kendall Hill, was instrumental in helping the township get the grant. Slusser said that 27 park districts applied for grants, but none was as unique as the township's application for outdoor movies.
"They really thought outside the box on what they could offer to the community," Slusser said. "It's good to be able to provide community activities for families." Once the township approves the licensing agreement - and depending on the weather - the outdoor films will begin.
"We will probably have our first вЂMovie in the Park' sometime by either late May or early June," Nevels said. "We will definitely be notifying the public, so they will not miss it, either."
Source: "Township lands grant to show movies at park" by Cynthia M. Ellis -The Telegraph. Read full article at: http://www.thetelegraph.com/news/township_24839___article.html/grant_park.html