Muse Music Venue Groundbreaking Set for Sept. 20

The public is invited to attend a groundbreaking ceremony in Sturgeon Bay for the Muse music venue and school being built at the northeast corner of 3rd Avenue and Jefferson Street. 

The ceremony will take place Sept. 20 at 11 am on the construction site and include remarks from local officials and project stakeholders.

The ground floor of the nearly 14,000-square-foot facility will house lesson rooms and a performance/event venue, with a patio facing the corner of 3rd Avenue and Jefferson Street.

Two public restrooms, accessible from the outside of the building, will also be located on the first floor. The second floor will house 11 studio apartments.

Shirley Weese Young, the project’s developer, previously rehabbed several downtown Sturgeon Bay properties and currently manages two venues and five rental apartments.

“The development of Muse Sturgeon Bay will be a wonderful addition to the city as a creative destination, furthering the economic impact of the arts in Sturgeon Bay,” said Mayor David Ward. “In addition, the 11 affordable residential units for year-round residents will contribute to our need for housing opportunities.”

Door County Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Michelle Lawrie said the DCEDC is “very proud to be working on this project with the City of Sturgeon Bay and the project’s developer, Shirley Weese Young.”

“The music school and venue will help enhance our community as a place where young talent and families thrive,” Lawrie said.

Muse Management Named

Muse Sturgeon Bay, a not-for-profit organization that will provide year-round musical education and entertainment for the local and seasonal community, will be managed by executive director Kaira Rouer and artistic director Dave Utzinger, Door County musicians and business entrepreneurs. 

Rouer earned a Master of Music degree in flute performance at the University of Denver in the Lamont School of Music and a Bachelor of Music degree from Lawrence University at the Conservatory of Music. Rouer also started and managed several Door County businesses.

Utzinger received his bachelor’s degree from the Berklee College of Music in Boston, a master’s degree from the Manhattan School of Music, where he studied with composer Richard Danielpour, and a doctorate in Music Theory and Composition from the University of California, Los Angeles, where he studied with composers David Lefkowitz, Eric Tanguy and Bruce Broughton.

Gary Ciepluch, Muse board president and Associate Professor Emeritus, Department of Music, College of Arts and Sciences at Case Western Reserve University, said fundraising for the project has begun.

“We are excited by the momentum of interest in our project and look forward to sharing Muse with all who are interested in learning more,” Ciepluch said.

Minimum Assessed Value and Financial Assistance

The Muse building – located at the former Moeller’s Garage car dealership site – will be located in the city’s newly created Tax Incremental District #8, along with another vacant lot to the east that Young also purchased, and then demolished the former PIP Printing building. The former Door County Ace Hardware building across the street is also within the TID.

Under the terms of a development agreement that Young has with the city, the Muse project will have a minimum assessed value of $4 million upon its completion, with the city providing $900,000 in financial assistance in 15 annual payments of $60,000. The development agreement also calls for Young to “substantially complete” the project by Jan. 1, 2025.