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SteelStax Drumming Up Support

(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Jeff Parks and ArtsQuest are gaining ground on their planned SteelStax project in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, as financial backers are slowly coming to the table in support of their massive arts center proposal.

“We’re going to make this the most unique performance environment on the East Coast,” Parks told Mayor John Callahan’s South Side Task Force, according to the Express-Times. The Musikfest founder told the group that he sees “major” and “contemporary” acts coming through the city to play the 3,500 seat venue, and many more flocking to the site soon after.

ArtsQuest’s proposal, which includes Bethlehem Steel’s huge blast furnaces encased in glass looming behind the stage, has started to drum up support among major investors, and is looking to announce partners in the coming months. One potential financial source is selling as many as a dozen corporate sky boxes. Parks also has a request in Harrisburg for $20 million.

The non-profit group’s proposal calls for a Festival Hall, which would house 50 concerts per year, and large community gatherings on another 75 nights. It would also serve as the main stage for Musikfest.

A cabaret-style café would offer 125 to 150 nights per year of the diverse entertainment carried by Musikfest. An arts education-based theater, which would house the Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Pennsylvania Youth Theatre and the Hispanic American League of Artists is also under consideration.

Parks insists that SteelStax depends only on the blast furnaces’ preservation, and is not counting on the slots-law currently being considered by the state. Another proposal, from BethWorks Now and the Las Vegas Sands company, hinges on the $879 million slots plan. –by CelebrityAccess Staff Writers