LIMA — Due to a donation by Greater Lima Region Inc., the downtown Rotary amphitheater project is $250,000 closer to hitting its $1.25 million goal.
“This project aligns perfectly with Greater Lima Region’s goal of investing in strategic projects,” GLR President/CEO Doug Olsson said just before Monday’s check presentation at the Rotary Club of Lima. “We think this is a perfect venue to tell Lima’s story.”
GLR’s $250,000 donation is currently the largest single amount given to the project, which has earned the nonprofit organization naming rights to the park. Olsson said the name hasn’t officially been decided as of yet.
Naming rights for the stage are still available.
“Rotary could not thank Greater Lima Region enough for their investment in our community and into the Rotary Amphitheater and Park,” Project Lead Tracie Sanchez stated in a press release.
The latest numbers compiled by Rotary set the total raised for the project at $770,000, and according to Sanchez, there’s more to come. Discussions have been ongoing with 19 other businesses that have verbally pledged additional fundraising dollars. Sanchez said she is waiting for the donation paperwork before officially adding those donations to the total.
As for physical progress of the project, demolition crews are on the cusp of finishing “Phase 1” of the extensive project to create a half-block park and stage in downtown Lima. Demolition work kicked off this past summer, and today, the plot intended to hold the park — the east side of a block bordered by Spring, Elm and Union streets — has been cleared of debris.
Sanchez said the project had hit a slight hiccup this fall. Demolition crews had found five underground tanks on the property. Thanks to some quick maneuvering by the City of Lima and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, the old tanks, some which still had rivets, have since been removed, and the project is set to move forward.
As the project moves along, Sanchez said she has been meeting with Lima Public Works Director Howard Elstro, Parks Director Ric Stolly, Council for the Arts of Greater Lima Director Bart Mills and Veterans Memorial Civic Center CEO Abe Ambroza on a monthly basis to ensure that maintenance and upkeep of the park goes smoothly once the property is transferred to city ownership.
Next steps include coordinating with members of the arts community to make sure the final project is able to fulfill what community members may need in such a facility. While the fundraising goal currently stands at $1.25 million, going above and beyond would allow design teams to plan for a more substantial performance venue which could potentially be used by the Lima Symphony Orchestra, music performers and even theater groups in the community.
“GLR’s partnership with the Rotary Club of Lima on this project demonstrates how various organizations working together can positively impact our community,” GLR Board Chair Mike Swick stated in a press release. “Our sizable investment demonstrates the optimistic view we have of our region, and we’re proud to be a part of this initiative.”
Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.