Public invited to discuss proposed Cape Elizabeth amphitheater

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CAPE ELIZABETH — A public forum next month will provide feedback on a proposed amphitheater at Fort Williams Park.

The Fort Williams Park Committee will lead the forum at Town Hall on Aug. 17 at 7 p.m. The committee has created a concept plan for the amphitheater, which will seat 350 people, but wants to hear from the public before moving forward.

The plan to create an amphitheater came about last August, when the Town Council approved demolition of the aging bleachers at the Fort Williams Park softball diamond. The park committee recommended demolishing the bleaches, as well as the long-term goal of building an amphitheater.

“The proposed amphitheater will provide a unique outdoor space for community gatherings, theatrical and musical performances, and school graduations,” Mark Russell, chairman of the committee, told councilors earlier this year.

In May, the Town Council included $440,000 in the fiscal year 2017 budget for  design and construction; one of the council’s 2016 goals is to review and approve the conceptual plan.

The Fort Williams Park Committee hired Mitchell and Associates, a Portland-based landscape and planning firm, to create a design. The firm is proposing an open-air structure made of grass and granite that will form a semi-circle around the ball field.

The amphitheater will be next to the new children’s garden being built between the ball field and the tennis courts.

Public Works Director Robert Malley said on the town website that additional funding may be needed for the amphitheater project, because the conceptual plan doesn’t include ledge removal, a short water line extension, and an access ramp. 

After the August public forum, the park committee will present its plan to the Town Council. Council Chairwoman Molly MacAuslan in May said the public forum is an important step in the process.

“Before it comes back to the council I’d like to see it’s been vetted by the public,” she said.

After being viewed by the council, the conceptual plan must be presented to the Planning Board. Once approved by the board, it will go back to the Town Council for final approval.

Pending final approval, it is expected that the amphitheater will be constructed next spring or summer.

Kate Gardner can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or kgardner@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter: @katevgardner

The Fort Williams Park Committee will hold a public forum Aug. 17 to discuss a conceptual plan for an amphitheater next to the Cape Elizabeth park’s softball field.

An amphitheater is being proposed at Fort Williams Park in Cape Elizabeth, where aging, concrete bleachers stood before they were demolished earlier this year.

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I'm a reporter for The Forecaster covering Freeport, Yarmouth, Chebeague Island, and Cape Elizabeth. I'm from a small town in NH no one's ever heard of. When not reporting, I can be found eating pasta and reading books, often at the same time.