Marquee makeover to benefit Plymouth and Marshall County

Through the efforts of the Marshall County Crossroads Team; Ginny Bess Munroe secured grant funding for electronic signage in each city and town of Marshall County to communicate not only local events and messages for each entity; but county wide communications including local advisories and alerts. 
Though the signage was initially scheduled as a Marshall County Crossroads Regional Stellar Award project; Munroe identified eligibility for funding through the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA) COVID Relief Grant. Marshall County was awarded $150,000 for six LED message boards; one for each incorporated community which included Culver, Plymouth, Bourbon, Argos, Bremen and Lapaz.
This grant frees up that Regional Stellar funding for another project. Marshall County Tourism also contributed $20,000 to the project. 
After reviewing public bids; the contract for installation was awarded to Graycraft Signs out of Warsaw. Installation will begin this winter through March with an anticipated completion date of March 15 for the last of six signs. 
Each entity was financially responsible for any funding beyond the grant amount to have electric run to the designated site and finance any upgrades; including the sign cabinet frame. 
The City of Plymouth designated the iconic and highly visible REES marquee for the electronic signage display for the city. 
A generous donation made by Brad and Patty Serf and Art and Lisa Jacobs enabled the REES committee to retain the authentic, historic visage of the marquee while at the same time accommodating the electronic upgrade which will enable more efficient communication. 
Of particular importance to the donors was that marquee volunteers will not be required to manually change the signage using a ladder. An exclusive interview with Serf and Jacobs will be featured in a later edition of the Pilot News where they share their memories of the REES and their passion for giving back to their community. 
Marshall County Crossroads Director of Communications and Marketing sub-committee Martin “Marty” Oosterbaan said, “It’s important to use all the channels that we can to communicate. The goal is to improve the quality of life across the county. Part of that is informing folks in each city and town what is happening across the county.” The pandemic made the need for swift, broad communication even more important.
The original purpose of the signage project was to market and communicate Marshall County Crossroads regional work; shape each community and the county as regional destinations; communicate regional plans, local news and community events; cross promote each town and city to one another when appropriate; reach members of the community beyond social media efforts; create positive first impressions as visitors enter the community; promote the Regional Stellar Designation; and promote tourism and community festivals. 
That original vision expanded to include additional uses relating to the pandemic including the communication of emergency declarations and stay-at-home orders; dates, times and locations of mobile food pantries; COVID-19 testing sites and other pandemic related information; promotional and marketing resources to inform and assist businesses as they navigate the restrictions and re-open safely in stages; and communicate local quarantine requirements and provide updates to any changes. 
Agencies including the Marshall County Crossroad Committee, the Marshall County Economic Development Corporation, the Marshall County Community Foundation, and other approved organizations will be allowed to submit public service and community announcements to Marshall County Tourism to be displayed on the signage. 
Oosterbaan stated, “Consistency in county messaging is now possible across six towns in addition to town specific messages.” 
The REES Theatre was selected as one of several projects for the City of Plymouth within the Marshall County Regional Stellar Plan. The REES marquee has long been the visual symbol of the historic icon in downtown Plymouth. It will not only continue to communicate messages important to Plymouth; but will now be part of a much larger regional electronic communication system that will benefit the whole county. 
REES Project co-chairs, Donna Pontius and Randy Danielson echoed this collaborative effort between The REES, Plymouth, City Administration and the Marshall County Crossroads Team. “The entire REES Committee is not only excited about this advancement in the functionality of the marquee in providing more comprehensive promotion of events taking place at The REES, but also the ability to provide informational alerts from throughout Marshall County. The generosity of families like Brad and Art continue to inspire us and others in fulfilling this mission to revive a landmark of entertainment for the enjoyment of all!"
Della Watson of Thistle & Clove was recognized on the REES marquee early this week for her contribution of space to display and sell a selection of REES keepsake gifts. Watson said, “The REES is a childhood memory. I grew up going to the REES Theatre. You want to help the community any way you can. This was just a small part that I can play here to help them. It’s a contribution to something bigger for your community.” The store is located at 109 N. Michigan St. in downtown Plymouth. Store hours are Tuesday through Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Project c-chairs Randy Danielson and Donna Pontius are grateful for every donation of time, money, and talent to the REES project. Monetary gifts may be made online at or on the Marshall County Community Foundation website at [search: The REES]. Donations may be mailed directly to: The REES Project, c/o Marshall County Community Foundation, 2680 Miller Dr. Suite 120, Plymouth, IN, 46563. Additional information and personal tours can be arranged by calling 574-286-2391. The REES is holding the fourth and final phase of their capital campaign for A/V equipment and furnishings. The 2021 “Puttin’ on the Blitz” is active now; which includes sponsorship opportunities for a limited number of individual theater seats at $250 each; inscribed sidewalk bricks at $500 each; with increased levels of giving up to bronze recognition stars on the south side of the building. 
The REES committee has also ensured the retention of the neon lights and the appearance of the historic display through sophisticated software and advanced LED technology. That preservation was made possible by the generous donation of Brad and Patty Serf; and Art and Lisa Jacobs. An exclusive interview with Serf and Jacobs will be featured in a later edition of the Pilot News where they share their memories of the REES and their passion for giving back to their community. 

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