Countrypalooza promoter promises 15 percent of event’s food, drink proceeds to help open Grand Rapids city pools

By Jim Harger
| The Grand Rapids Press
    May 27, 2010, 12:38PM

Ben ShawaGRAND
RAPIDS — As a kid growing up on the West Side, Ben Shawa has fond
memories of splashing in Lincoln Park’s wading pool and then graduating
to its swimming pool.

This weekend, the 37-year-old promoter of Countrypalooza
wants to give back to the community.

Shawa said he and restaurateur Steve Brechting will donate 15 percent
of their food and beverage receipts to Friends of Grand Rapids Parks,
which is raising $175,000 to open two outdoor city swimming pools this

“Pools were part of my daily summer routine growing up,” said Shawa,
whose free concert at John Ball Park will feature several local bands
and Nashville country stars, Bomshel.

Shawa said he was inspired
by Bob Sullivan
, a businessman who offered to donate the funds to
open the pool at Richmond Park this summer.

Friends of Grand Rapids Parks also will accept direct donations
at a vendor booth at the concert. Donations also are being accepted at
the group’s website: www.friendsofgrparks.org.

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