Potential Park Amphitheater Estimates Reviewed

BERLIN –  The Berlin Falls Park Advisory Committee continues to explore plans for an amphitheater at the public space.

Though the park remains closed following a chemical spill on the site, the advisory committee met last week to continue ongoing discussions of plans for the property’s future. Committee members talked about plans for a community bonfire and birding tour as well as the cost associated with building an amphitheater.

“If an opportunity arises we might at least be able to throw out some ballpark numbers,” said Amy Field, chair of the committee.

According to David Deutsch, project manager, rough estimates provided by Davis, Bowen & Friedel showed costs ranging from $160,000 to $480,000 for an amphitheater.

“These are obviously preliminary costs, they’d have to be fine-tuned later,” Deutsch said.

He said a basic pavilion, 36-by-36-by-12 would cost $160,000 and would require $100,000 in site work. A slightly larger building would cost $220,000 plus $120,000 in site work. Deutsch said a more elaborate building measuring 40-by-60-by-20 would cost $480,000 and would require an additional $140,000 in site work.

Deutsch stressed that these were not bid numbers but rather estimates provided by the engineering firm.

“They might be more they might be less,” he said.

Committee member Kate Patton suggested a subcommittee talk further about the amphitheater concept.

“I think that while those are really great ideas, images of what we all really like ultimately, I think we could also talk about something on a much simpler scale to get started,” she said.

Patton said she’d seen successful venues that had nothing more than a field and a flatbed. She said that the portable stage used during the Berlin Fiddlers Convention was another good example.

“I think perhaps the idea would be that before you invest a lot of money in something, that you do it on a small scale where you bring in the flatbed for a stage and do something on a low-key basis just to get a feel for what that would look like before you invest half a million dollars,” she said.

As for upcoming activities, the committee discussed a bonfire for the fall and a birding event for the winter. The bonfire is being considered for September though it remains contingent on the cooperation of the Berlin Fire Company. Committee members said they hadn’t yet heard back from anyone at the organization.

Field said she’d been researching the idea of a birding event to be held at the park and had talked with birders about doing it in November. At the suggestion of committee members, however, she agreed to aim for a date in January.

“January is loaded out there,” committee member Roger Fitzgerald said, indicating that there were a great number of species to be seen at that time of year.

The committee’s next meeting is set for Sept. 19.

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.