Village Media, a Sault Ste. Marie-based digital media company, has donated $150,000 to the city’s downtown plaza project, which is currently under construction.
The company is providing $50,000 in cash, which will help pay for the plaza’s screen and stage project, as well as $100,000 worth of in-kind donations, to be meted out over the next 10 years, which will go toward advertising on Village Media’s web platforms.
(Village Media is the parent company of Northern Ontario Business.)
“The Village Media team is thrilled to be part of this exciting addition to the downtown that will enrich the lives of residents and visitors alike,” Jeff Elgie, Village Media’s CEO, said in a city-issued news release.
“Village Media headquarters is located in downtown Sault Ste. Marie, and we have always been committed to strengthening the communities we serve. We see this sponsorship as a testament to our dedication to fostering a thriving downtown and showcasing local talent and creativity.”
The city said Village Media’s donation is the latest in a number of project endowments from local businesses and community organizations. To date, it’s received $1.2 million toward the project, which the city called “unprecedented for a municipal project.”
In development for a number of years, the $11.6-million plaza is being designed as a cultural hub to host community events, concerts, and social gatherings throughout the year.
It’s part of a larger revitalization of Sault Ste. Marie’s downtown core, which has been ongoing for several years.
Plaza features include a skating rink, a gathering area, a stage with an outdoor screen, a play zone, public washrooms and a change area, and seating. The area will be enhanced by lighting displays and landscaping.
“The plaza’s screen and stage will serve as a dynamic platform for cultural events, live performances, and community gatherings. Village Media's contribution plays an important role in ensuring its success,” Tom Vair, the city’s deputy CAO, said in the release.
“The creation of this vibrant public space will have a significant impact on local economies, stimulating business investments and tourism within our downtown. We are grateful to Village Media for recognizing the invaluable impact this space will have on our community.”
Earlier this fall, the Soo Market — a popular farmers market featuring goods from local producers and artisans — marked its official opening in a building adjacent to the plaza. It relocated to its new spot, a former Greyhound bus terminal, after spending the last nine years operating out of a repurposed fish hatchery.
Sault Ste. Marie’s new downtown plaza will officially open to the public on October 28.