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Music On The Square

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RAGBRAI Funds Pay For New Sound System

By Joe Foreman, Editor

There’s music in the air on Glenwood’s Town Square.
    Earlier this fall, a state-of-the-art sound system was installed around the courtyard of the Mills County Courthouse in an effort to enhance the atmosphere of the Town Square shopping district. The $8,000 system was installed by Glenwood-based Spiral Communications and paid for with funds generated by Glenwood’s 2011 RAGBRAI committee.

    Music from the sound system is being distributed around the square through speakers in the ground and atop the clocktower. Eight of 12 ground speakers are in place. The remaining four on the north side of the square will be installed after work is completed next year on the courthouse expansion project.
    The music is provided through Pandora Internet Radio and controlled through a computer at City Hall. Spiral Communications paid the licensing fees required for the music to be distributed in a public setting. Glenwood financial director Brian Kissel has the responsibility of determining what types of music are played. The options range from 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s to easy listening, classical, country, pop, patriotic and Christmas.
    “We can play anything and everything,” Kissel said. “Eventually, there will be a website set up where people can make requests.”
    Presently, the music is played during normal business hours at City Hall (M-F, 7:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.) and on nights when special events or city council meetings are taking place. Kissel said there’s also been some discussion of possibly adding Saturday morning music.
    Kissel said he and members of the RAGBRAI committee have received several comments about the music. More than 90 percent of the comments have been positive, Kissel said, although one business owner on the north side of the square, Karen Lincoln, has voiced her dislike of the music to the city council. She said the bass sound in some of the music is annoying to employees and customers at her card shop.
    “On that side of the street, the music is loud enough to be heard in our store,” Lincoln said at meeting earlier this month.
    Lincoln said the music can also be heard in apartments on top of Town Square businesses.
    Kissel and members of the RAGBRAI committee have walked the square to assess the music and solicit input from business owners.
    “I’d say I’ve had more people tell me to turn it (volume) up,” Kissel said.
    The RAGBRAI committee was made up of a cross section of community members, including business owners, clergy, chamber of commerce members and elected officials. Committee member Suzanne Tuma said several worthwhile endeavors in the Glenwood community were considered before the decision was made to use the RAGBRAI money for the sound system.
    “We definitely wanted the entire community to benefit from how the money was used because the community had been so supportive of RAGBRAI,” Tuma said. “We feel the sound system will bring about a welcoming feel to our community.”
    In addition to the music, Tuma said the sound system will be utilized for special events like Homecoming, this week’s Home For The Holidays event and future visits from RAGBRAI.
    In addition to funding the sound system, the RAGBRAI committee also gave $2,500 to the Mills County Storehouse.