Levitt AMP Berea needs your votes

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After a successful 2019 concert series, Levitt AMP Berea is again in the running to bring the  free, live music series to back to Berea next summer. Voting is now underway and ends Nov. 20.

After a successful 2019 concert series, Levitt AMP Berea is again in the running to bring the free, live music series to back to Berea next summer.

Sponsored by the Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation, which is dedicated to strengthening the social fabric of America through free live music, Levitt AMP Berea was recently revealed to be one of the Top 25 finalists competing for a 2020 Levitt AMP Grant Award.

The Levitt AMP Grant Awards is a matching grant opportunity created by the Levitt Foundation to serve small to mid-sized towns and cities with populations up to 400,000. Grant recipients will each be awarded $25,000 in matching funds to produce their own Levitt AMP music series, a free, outdoor concert series featuring a diverse lineup of professional musicians from around the United States.

Levitt AMP Berea's proposed venue site is again Old Town Artisan Village on the stage near Artisan Green. Berea's proposal is now posted on the Levitt AMP website for online public voting at levittamp.org.

Local residents are asked to step up and cast as many online votes as possible to bring the concert series back to Berea in 2020. Community support, as measured by the number of online votes received, will be one of the key factors considered when the Levitt Foundation determines the 2020 winners.

Visit levittamp.org/vote to register and vote. Online public voting ends Nov. 20 at 5 p.m. PST. Once the Top 25 finalists are selected through online public voting, the Levitt Foundation will review the Top 25 finalists' proposals and select the 2020 Levitt AMP winners, which will be announced on Dec. 20.

Ali Blair, a founder of First Friday Berea, which has subsequently evolved to become the Levitt AMP Berea concert series, said the events attracted an average of about 300 spectators in 2019, drawing a cross section of Berea residents. That was despite the fact that some of the concerts were held on days when there was near-record breaking heat. In addition to bringing local people together, the Levitt AMP series has also breathed new life into the Old Town tourism/artisan district.

"Bringing people into Old Town consistently, week after week, activates the space," said Blair. "The number one reason why people attend these kinds of events, is to socialize. I feel this series has provided the community the space for offline social networking. Our survey results show that the music series is influencing visitors to Berea. Having Berea guests experience an authentic community gathering and a thriving public space, is good for our social and economic wellbeing."

Sharon Yazowski, executive director of the Mortimer and Mimi Levitt Foundation, recently noted that business development tends to increase in neighborhoods where Levitt AMP concerts begin to occupy a space. Blair said the same effect has been seen in Old Town, where there has seen an uptick in business, including a new restaurant.

"Levitt AMP Berea was a deciding factor in location choice for Apollo's Old Town Taproom. They supported the 2019 Music Series with sponsorship, investing cash as a partner in these creative placemaking efforts," Blair said. "Five new businesses have filled empty storefronts in the last year; four are additional locations for existing Madison County businesses."

Levitt AMP Berea asks supporters to spread the word to family, friends, colleagues and neighbors and rally the community to sign up and vote for Levitt Amp Berea's proposal. Voters do not have to live in Berea to support the proposal.

Vote for Levitt Amp Berea by doing the following:

• Go to Levittamp.org and click "vote" at the top of the menu, or click on the "sign up to vote" button.

• Sign up to vote for Levitt Amp Berea by signing in with Facebook or Google, or filling out the online signup form and creating a password.

• Log onto your account at levittamp.org;

• Vote for your favorite proposals by scrolling down the leaderboard showing all of the Levitt Amp proposals, and when you find Levitt Amp Berea, click "learn more and vote."

• Click "vote now" to cast your vote in support of Levitt Amp Berea.

You can vote for a total of five proposals, but can vote for each proposal once. Voting ends Nov. 20.

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