LIMA — The vision for the downtown Lima amphitheater project is starting to become more clear.
Tracie Sanchez, former Lima Rotary Club President and owner of Lima Pallet Company, spoke to the Shawnee Optimist Club on Wednesday about how the development is going and provided some more details about what visitors can expect when the venue opens.
“I think what a lot of our goals are for downtown Lima is that we want to retain the great workforce that we have,” Sanchez said. “And we (also) have people from the outside that want to move to Lima, so it’s really about having things to do downtown. So not only do we want to create jobs, but we also want to have that entertainment and things that bring young people back.”
The project was recently approved by Lima City Council along with the redevelopment of the Spring and Main building that will be right across the street from the amphitheater. Being within walking distance from Rhodes State College downtown, Sanchez hopes that the location will help tap into the younger demographic.
“When I was president of Rotary, the thought was really to help revitalize this downtown area,” Sanchez said. “When you got to the south of Market Street, those were just a ton of dilapidated, ugly buildings, there’s a lot of crime in that area. So we decided ‘what better place to pick than the most distressed part of downtown Lima?’ So people thought we were crazy.”
She also revealed other details about the project, which will feature a large green space, benches to honor veterans from all military branches and a wall to recognize donors who gave $1,000 or more to support the project.
Throughout the process, community partners have come in and committed to being involved with events at the venue when it opens.
The amphitheater will host everything from Lima Symphony Orchestra to yoga from the YMCA and Shakespeare in the Park events from Octopus Productions. When there aren’t scheduled events going on, the venue will provide a space for weddings, festivals and community picnics, or just a place for students to read or study outdoors.
Sanchez said that the $3.5 million project is almost fully funded, getting approval from the city auditor to move forward and accept construction bids. Construction is expected to be completed in late 2022, with the first events being hosted in spring of 2023.