GREENVILLE — With “Revamp the Amp’s” first phase completed, volunteers working on the revitalization of Graul Amphitheater are looking for a statement of support from town council.
Jim Tokar, spokesperson for “Revamp the Amp,” said Phase 2 will focus on the stage at the amphitheater, located in Riverside Park.
“Our primary focus for phase two is the covering on the stage, Tokar said. “We’re calling it a canopy. That’s a very expensive undertaking. We hope to put a new concrete surface on the stage. It will be aesthetically pleasing but also more functional because you’re not dealing with cracks and pitted surfaces.”
The group approached council this week to seek a statement of support to assist future fund-raising efforts, said town Manager Jasson Urey.
“A lot of these groups, before they put money to the project, want some assurance,” Urey said. “They want to know the municipality is in favor of it. This is the municipality partnering with a group of volunteers.”
“Revamp the Amp” is an offshoot of “Revive Riverside,” a group of volunteers working to revitalize the Greenville park. Tokar, Mary Reames, Darrell Nicklin, Barry and Linda Oman, Ron Cooper, Eric Riley and Jerry Brenneman are members of “Revamp the Amp.”
Town officials began working with the “Revamp the Amp” group about a year ago, Urey said.
“It was the ‘Revamp the Amp’ group that saw this thing not being utilized and saw some potential in it,” Urey said. “They stepped up and said, ‘We’ll help you get this thing back to use, be an attraction to the community.’”
The renovation project involves repairing the amphitheater’s stone and masonry seating area and cement pad stage, upgrading the electric and lighting systems and attaching a wooden canopy.
“Our motto is ‘Donate your time, talent or treasure,’ “ Tokar said. “One of our goals is to have a structure that’s as maintenance free as possible,”
Once phase two is completed, “Revamp the Amp” plans to landscape for the final time, he added.
Urey said the “Revamp the Amp” group was looking for “assurance” at Monday’s town council meeting.
So far, the revitalization efforts have not cost any municipal funds, he added.
The group was successful in getting three grants for the initial phase, Tokar said. The group also received a $30,000 gift from an anonymous donor.
Last year, Mercer County Commissioners allotted $10,000 from the county’s Unconventional Gas Well Fund toward updating the Graul Amphitheater at Riverside Park.
Under Pennsylvania’s Act 13 regulations, projects like “Revamp the Amp” are considered as community park expenditures, which is a permissible use of the funds that come from fees on drillers of unconventional gas wells in the Marcellus and Utica Shale fields.
“Revamp the Amp” had to match the county’s grant with an additional $10,000 in either funds or services, Urey said.
G.S. Kusich Construction donated the sandblasting of the Graul Amphitheater stone structure, ultimately matching the county’s grant in in-kind services, Urey said.
“Kusich did more than $10,000 worth of work,” he said.
Overall, the “Revamp the Amp” group has been “extremely pleased” with the community support it has received, Reames said.
“The amount of support from the community has been really overwhelming for this project,” he said.
The “Revamp the Amp” group has set a target date of June 1 for re-opening the Graul Amphitheater, Tokar said.
“We invite members of the community to host events there,” Tokar said. “Those arrangements are made through the borough. We hope people will come forward. It’s intended to be a borough asset and used by the community.”
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