Clear Lake council approves CAT grant application for Surf Music Enrichment & Immersive Center

CLEAR LAKE — The Clear Lake City Council last night approved the city submitting an application for a Community Attractions and Tourism Grant as part of an upgrade of the plans for the Surf Ballroom Music Enrichment & Immersive Center that’s part of the city’s Surf District Destination Iowa project.

Project leaders recently took another look at the Music Enrichment Center and wanted to add immersive technology enhancements to keep it relevant in the future, as it would provide 21st Century technology in an effort to promote the legacy of the Winter Dance Party, its three iconic performers, and music in general.

Austin Pehl of Atura Architecture says the immersive enhancements will add another dimension to the Surf experience. “The fact that we can’t visually show you right now the wow factor I think is an indication as to what it’s going to be. Typically a static environment is easy to replicate. This is ever-changing, so I think it’s something that you’re going to have to be there to experience, and I think that’s going to be a good task for Laurie and the Surf to be able to market that, and I don’t think it will be hard.”

Pehl says the MEIC will compliment the actual ballroom in the Surf visitor experience.  “There’s so many articles and historic items that have been on display at the Surf and restaurants around town, whatever it might be. Those are great, and I think this is only going to enhance those. You think about the juxtaposition of these two types of museums and exhibits, I think one’s only going to benefit the other. It’s not a re-creation of the same thing that  you already have. I think ultimately, it’s going to help the Surf and help the draw for the experience that you are going to receive in the Surf as well as the MEIC. I think that’s a good indication as far as the direction we’ve taken with that.”

The city will seek $960,000 from the CAT program, along with a $250,000 match from Cerro Gordo County, with the city funding the rest of the cost.

The council last night also approved a Construction Manager At-Risk contract with Dean Snyder Construction for the Music Enrichment & Immersive Center project.