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Open container, other plans approved for coliseum benefit concert

T-R FILE PHOTO Pictured is Veterans Memorial Coliseum roof damage shortly after the July 19 tornado.

Years ago, the Veterans Memorial Coliseum played host to KFJB-radio’s popular “Barn Dance” program which featured country music acts and entertainment. It was carried live to thousands of listeners throughout Central Iowa.

Fast forward several decades and the historic building will again play host to a live country act, this time rising country star Jason Brown.

Brown and other musicians will play outside in front of the historic building on State Street, all part of a coliseum benefit concert on July 6.

Proceeds from ticket sales, beer and T-shirt sales will be used to help renovate the building which lost most of its roof and suffered extensive water damage from the July 19 tornado.

Marshalltown city councilors took action at Monday night’s meeting by passing a resolution by 5-1 vote to allow open containers of alcohol on public ways. Public safety and street blockades are being planned as well.

City Administrator Jessica Kinser said an area adjoining the coliseum will be surrounded by a fence to ensure only those 21-years and older will be able to purchase alcohol from Brown’s Eppo Productions.

“Tickets (for beer) will have to be purchased, there will be screening at the gate and wristbands given,” Kinser said. “When one goes in the front gate, which will be at the corner of Center Street and State Street, we will have volunteers collecting tickets checking identification and dispersing wristbands.”

The show begins with local entertainment at 4:30 p.m., followed by Neil Hewitt at 5:45 p.m., Brown and then a late-night band at 10:30 p.m.

The city owns the coliseum, and launched a public fundraising campaign on March 15, the 90th anniversary of the building’s dedication with the goal of raising $1.35 million of a projected $3.6 million renovation.

“The Martha Ellen Tye Foundation has announced a $400,000 challenge grant for the renovation of the Veterans Memorial Coliseum,” Marshalltown Mayor Joel Greer said. “Once again the Martha-Ellen Tye Foundation is the champion for promoting projects to improve our community.”

In accepting the $400,000 challenge grant from the Martha-Ellen Tye Foundation, the city needs to raise an additional $400,000 to receive the full amount.

Fourth ward councilor Al Hoop cast the only no vote. The veteran councilor has voted no on other resolutions allowing for open container at other public events.

Voting yes were councilors Cahill, Gowdy, Isom, Lamer and Martin. At-Large Councilor Bethany Wirin was absent.

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Contact Mike Donahey at

641-753-6611 or

mdonahey@timesrepublican.com