Northwood is the most recent city in The Press area that plans to show a free outdoor movie as part of an effort to offer non-sports activities to residents.
On August 20, the city will show the animated comedy “Norm of the North,” at approximately 8:45 p.m. in Central Park, located next to the municipal complex and fire station off Wales and Oram roads.
“Central Park is a great place to show a movie,” said City Administrator Bob Anderson. “There’s a tennis court in the middle where we can stage it.”
Councilman Daniel Mikolajczyk said he brought the idea to Anderson because he wanted the city to offer programs that were not sports related. The recreation program has a budget of $28,000, with most dedicated to the city’s ball program.
“Twenty-six thousand dollars in that budget goes to our baseball program,” said Mikolajczyk. “And the remaining $2,000 goes toward a senior exercise program.”
He became interested in getting a movie in the park after seeing an outdoor movie last year in Sylvania, where his sister lives.
“Everyone had a good time, and it didn’t cost anything. There’s not a lot of family venues where we can do something for free.
The Village of Holland also has free outdoor movies in the park for residents. I asked our mayor (Ed Schimmel) about it, and he was all for it. All we can do is try it. If we have a good turnout, we’ll try it again – maybe do it multiple times next year. I’d like to see what the reaction is. It’s not really costly to the city. We have just a small budget for it. But maybe we could also get a band to play next year before the movie starts.”
Quality of life
Movie in the Park fits with his interest to promote “quality of life” issues he campaigned for as a candidate for council, he said.
“That’s one of the things on my wish list – to have some entertainment – and do something for people that does not cost them anything,” he said. “Northwood has a great industrial base. We just don’t have a lot of quality of life things, such as restaurants and outings like movies in the park. We have some beautiful parks here that I think we underuse.”
Central Park is located next to a fenced in area by the street department, behind the main city building, at Wales and Oram.
“We have an open field for parking, and parking in our two side lots,” he said. “No alcohol is permitted, and we’re asking people not to bring glass containers of any kind.”
Estimates of how many will attend appear promising.
“I’ll be very happy if we get 100 people. I’m shooting for 200 people. On our Facebook page, we had over 117 people saying they were interested,” he said. “And 25 immediately went up on the mayor’s site saying they were going to go.”
The online website www.movies.com gives the following synopsis of the “Norm of the North”: “When a real estate development invades his Arctic home, Norm (a polar bear) and his three lemming friends head to New York City, where Norm becomes the mascot of the corporation in an attempt to bring it down from the inside and protect his homeland.”
The 90 minute film, released to the general public in January of this year, is rated PG.
Oregon will hold its first free outdoor movie on its soccer fields off Starr Avenue Extension on Friday, Aug. 5 starting at dusk or about 9:15 p.m.
The movie, McFarland USA, is considered a family friendly movie. The two hour film, featuring Kevin Costner, is described as an “inspiring Disney sports drama based on actual events,” according to the website www.movies.com.
Costner plays a high school football coach who ends up leading a cross-country track team made up of lower class Latino students to a state championship,” according to a synopsis from the website.
A local band, The Wannabee’s, will be playing children oriented music from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. leading up to the movie. In addition, lawn games and other activities will be offered while the audience waits for the movie to start.
The public can bring lawn chairs and blankets, their own refreshments, or purchase drinks and food from concession stands.
The event is a test pilot to determine public support for non-sports activities that the Parks and Recreation Department has discussed over the last several months.