New Wonder Bar owners donate $1 million to downtown plaza construction

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The father and son who purchased the Wonder Bar are helping fund a new downtown Casper institution even as they close another.

Tony and Cole Cercy, who bought the Wonder Bar and Poor Boy’s Steakhouse last month, announced a $1 million donation to the David Street Station downtown plaza project Wednesday at a Chamber of Commerce event.

Tony Cercy sold Casper-based Power Service Inc. to a Texas company in the spring. While the sale price for the energy industry equipment company was not disclosed, it was an all-cash transaction.

The plaza is being built on the corner of David Street and Old Yellowstone Highway. The construction site is visible from the parking lot of the “World Famous” Wonder Bar, the watering hole opened in the 1930s and shuttered on Oct. 8 as part of the Cercys’ purchase.

Cole Cercy, who is charge of the newly acquired businesses, has previously said he will not announce his plans until the end of October.

The Cercys did not share information about the future of Wonder Bar or Poor Boy’s Steakhouse with media present at Wednesday’s event. Cole Cercy did not immediately reply to an email requesting comment on the donation.

“I don’t know about any of their other plans but am doing back flips for this major public investment from them,” said Downtown Development Authority CEO Kevin Hawley.

Hawley announced last week that construction on the $1.8 million western half of the plaza will start soon and open to the public by August’s solar eclipse, which is expected to draw thousands of visitors to Casper.

The Cercy donation is earmarked for the second phase of the project and brings the DDA to almost half the funding necessary to complete the eastern section of the plaza. Coupled with a $500,000 donation from Hilltop National Bank, also announced last week, the development organization is $2.1 million shy of the total needed.

Hawley said construction on the eastern half of the plaza will not begin until nearly all of the $3.6 million bid estimate is secured. If that funding is found within the next couple of months, both halves of the plaza could be built at the same time and open in time for the eclipse.

But if that doesn’t happen, Hawley said they will wait until after the eclipse festival to start work on the second half of the plaza.

Follow local government reporter Arno Rosenfeld on Twitter @arnorosenfeld