The Wine, Beer, Cigar and Food Festival has proven to be a successful fundraiser for the . The funds raised at past events have been re-invested in the Brainerd building, repairing the roof, windows, heating, and for general maintenance. Now it is the time for the community to invest in the Brainerd Community Center concept and save the building from demolition.
The Wine, Beer, Cigar and Food Festival is potentially just the beginning of special events to be held at the historic building, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The auditorium stage could be home to the many theater groups based in Libertyville who search for venues to present their productions. The building, which served Libertyville as a high school from 1917 until 2000, would easily adapt to serve dance companies, theater productions, artist studios, band jams, banquets, and more. A number of groups have expressed interest in leasing space ranging from theater and dance companies to an incubator kitchen with an organic greenhouse on the roof.
Before signatures can be inked on the leases there are repairs and improvements which require completion. The building’s structure is sound, however the skylights above the auditorium need a $3,500 repair to stop water leakage. Once complete, the auditorium ceiling can be replaced and the walls painted in preparation for occupancy. Upon restoration of the plumbing in the bathrooms, performances on the auditorium stage would be offered to the public. So close, and yet so far.
Fundraising has been slow. While funds have been used to keep up with the maintenance of the Brained building, the first lease payment of $250,000 due Dec. 1, 2014 has not been raised. If the lease payment cannot be met, then the future of the structure is at risk of demolition. More than memories would be lost with the destruction. It is environmentally and fiscally more cost effective to restore the building, thereby preserving materials, energy and tax dollars. Owned by District 128, demolition of the building could potentially prove more expensive to the residents.
The Brainerd building will be open for tours as part of the Wine, Beer, Cigar and Food Festival being held on the grounds located at 416 W. Park Ave. in Libertyville on Aug. 25 from 3-8:30 p.m. The festival ticket price ($30 in advance, $40 at the gate) includes a souvenir tasting glass and 10 tastes from the expansive selection of fine wine, craft beer and cigars. Area restaurants will be offering a selection of gourmet food and live music will enhance the event. Tickets can be purchased online at www.northshorewinebeerfest.com or at the Libertyville Village Hall. A complete list of ticket vendors, participating vineyards and breweries, participating restaurants, and musical entertainment is available on the festival website www.northshorewinebeerfest.com
For more information about the effort to save the building and create a community center visit www.saveBrainerd.org. Information on how to donate or volunteer for the Brainerd Community Center Foundation is available at www.saveBrainerd.org.
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