The awards offer a matching grant opportunity for small to mid-size cities with populations up to 400,000. With a population of 15,500, Jasper fits.
“We are excited about this opportunity for this prestigious grant,” said Kevin Manley, executive director of Dubois County Tourism. “These concerts will allow us to bring more visitors to our area and encourage community engagement.”
If Jasper wins the grant, the concerts will be held on the Riverwalk near Dave Buehler Plaza.
To win, a community must get enough online votes. Voting opens at 1 p.m. today and closes at 8 p.m. Monday, Nov. 20.
The top 25 finalists from the online voting will be in the running for final selection by the Levitt Foundation. Fifteen communities will be awarded grants. Whether or not Jasper wins the concert series depends on the votes as the Levitt Foundation uses the votes to measure community support and select the 15 winners. Last year, Jasper fell short in votes.
“There are a lot of communities that are more populated than ours, and we couldn’t keep up,” said Marc Steczyk, president of Next Act Inc., one of the organizations collaborating on the grant effort.
This year, the strategy is to combine forces as much as possible and solicit votes. Next Act Inc., Dubois County Tourism, the Dubois County Community Foundation, the City of Jasper, the Jasper Chamber of Commerce and the Jasper Community Arts Commission have all teamed up to spread the word and encourage people to vote. Steczyk described it as a “grass-roots” effort. Each person can only vote once, so rallying the community is key, and voters don’t have to be residents of Jasper or Dubois County.