LIMA — A new amphitheater and park in downtown Lima is about $350,000 away from hitting its revised fundraising goal.
“We’re on that final stretch,” said Rich Rudolph, of Lima Rotary Club. “… We’ve got several lines in the water.”
Two of those lines recently struck with big catches for the $2.8 million Greater Lima Region Park and Amphitheater project. The Husky Lima Refinery delivered a $50,000 check at Monday’s weekly meeting of the Lima Rotary Club. Dr. James O’Neill also made a “naming rights” contribution to build the Madelon’s Way Commemorative Grove, in honor of his late mother, Madelon O’Neill, who was well known for her love of music and providing piano lessons in Lima before her death in 2016.
The project, located between Elm and Spring streets in downtown Lima with Union Street on its eastern edge, also received a $1.25 million commitment from the State of Ohio. Fundraising is within $57,000 of raising a matching share of that, said Tracie Sanchez, of the Lima Rotary Club.
The project has come a long way since it was first introduced back in 2018. It’s on pace to go to bid in June, with an awarded bid and construction starting in August. The current goal is for completion by spring of 2022.
“If you look at the picture, it was just like a stick stage, an all-wood open stage. Now what we’re going to show you today is a completely different model,” Sanchez said.
Perhaps the most impressive improvement is the brick facade around the amphitheater stage, which will be large enough for the Lima Symphony Orchestra to perform there.
“(The construction) is all designed to reflect the historic architecture of downtown Lima, pulling in the different materials and some of the major architectural features, like the large arch on the back of the stage,” said Patrick Beam, of Beam Designs. “Really, it looks and feels like it’s always been part of downtown Lima.”
The project is also moving ahead on how it will run once it’s completed. The entire park will be turned over to the City of Lima, and nearby Veterans Memorial Civic Center will handle programming for the facility. The revised project includes about $300,000 worth of improvements requested by the arts community, Sanchez said, including a green room, changing facilities and enhanced lighting.
There are still opportunities for naming rights on different parts of the project to help reach that final fundraising goal.
“This is a big part of making a Lima better place,” Rudolph said. “In the last 30 years, I’ve never seen as many opportunities and progress being made in the city.”