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> Splash Pad and Amphitheater updates
Southsider2k12
post Apr 13 2010, 01:18 PM
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For those who haven't gotten up to the lakefront this year, I took some pictures up there to see how the progress was going on both of these things.

The Oasis Splash Pad looks like it held up well in my very non-professional opinion. I saw no cracks of any kind in the concrete up there, so hopefully that means we get to see it open on the May/June schedule they were hoping for last year.

The Foreman Amphitheater looks like it is coming along nicely. Some things that jumped out at me were the new handicapped accessible ramp that was installed to enter the stage, and the walkway that was put in down the grassy section above the seating area. The new work looks nice to me.

http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?ref=pr...3874&ref=mf
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Upper Penn
post Apr 14 2010, 04:27 PM
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heard that the whole electrical upgrade for the amphitheater has been red tag indefinitely. apparently the upgrades come no where close to passing code. look for another additional appropriation for a poorly planned park project.
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Southsider2k12
post Apr 21 2010, 10:55 AM
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So guess what you saw here first that just became a story?

http://thenewsdispatch.com/articles/2010/0...5e385540448.txt

QUOTE
Concert organizers decry amphitheater upgrades

Loss of seating space seen as loss of revenue
By Matt Field
Staff Writer
Published: Wednesday, April 21, 2010 4:14 AM CDT
MICHIGAN CITY — Organizers for Smooth Jazz at South Shore told the City Council on Tuesday night they are not happy after finally seeing the upgrades to Washington Park’s amphitheater that has been home to the annual summer event.

Tony Sindone, Smooth Jazz at South Shore president, said the upgrades, including a ramp for people with disabilities that goes through the center of the seating area, would mean a loss of about 1,000 seats and $25,000 in sales.

Sindone was joined by Bernie Scott, the concert’s founder, and other event organizers. After an at times contentious back and forth between the concert organizers and park department officials, including Superintendent Jan Orlich, several council members said they want to visit the amphitheater.

Orlich said after discussing the ramp with an architect, she thought about 90 seats would be lost.

But concert organizers say if you count other areas of the venue, the tally becomes higher. The snaking ramp extends from a parking area, through lawn seating and into the amphitheater seats. It will mean a big loss in seating space, Sindone said.

“It takes up a lot space,” Sindone said of the ramp, “and the grading that had to be done on the land around it is no longer conducive to many of the members of our audience to put down lawn chairs.”

The chairs would topple over, he said.

The organizers said in the past, every one in the amphitheater has sit in 462 folding chairs, but now that the space includes almost 200 good-quality permanent seats. The organizers fear customers who get folding chairs will feel slighted.

“You can put a (temporary) chair there, but,” Scott said, “it’s like putting a Volkswagen in front of a Mercedez Benz.”

Concert organizers did capture the attention of council members, some of whom voiced admiration for the concert and Scott himself. Councilman Bob McKee and others said they planned to take a trip to the amphitheater as soon as today.

Tickets are scheduled to go on sale May 1, and Councilman Willie Milsap said that means a solution needs to be reached soon.

Sindone said he got the $25,000 figure by multiplying the $25 entry fee by 1,000, which is the number of seats he said would be lost if something isn’t done.

While concert organizers said they understood the amphitheater wasn’t built solely for the jazz event, the one-day August event is a boost to Michigan City. Concertgoers spend money in the city, and proceeds are donated to local charities.

Sindone said in past years, organizers had been able to donate thousands to local charities.

“We are just one event, but we’re kind of a large event,” Sindone said.
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Southsider2k12
post Apr 21 2010, 10:56 AM
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Here is a great shot of the area that they are referring to...

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mcstumper
post Apr 21 2010, 03:35 PM
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Wow, Scott and Sindone seem to be showing a lot of concern for the handicapped here. Maybe they could rip up all that annoying concrete and put a zip line in for the handicapped people to use.

Come on Bernie, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. You could setup a kiosk where you could sell Smooth Jazz beanbags. Surely they wouldn't tip over on the concrete. $10 markup on 1,000 beanbags. Think it over.


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Tim
post Apr 21 2010, 07:23 PM
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Anyone know the seating capacity at the amphitheater?
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Southsider2k12
post Apr 22 2010, 07:27 AM
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http://thenewsdispatch.com/articles/2010/0...ed556068388.txt

QUOTE
Two opposing views to the amphitheater upgrades

Dave Hawk/The News-Dispatch A view of the work under way Wednesday at the Guy F. Foreman Bicentennial Amphitheatre.
By Matt Field
Staff Writer
Published: Thursday, April 22, 2010 4:15 AM CDT
MICHIGAN CITY — The Parks and Recreation Department superintendent says a newly renovated Washington Park amphitheater still can host the popular Smooth Jazz at South Shore event.

The concert’s founder says the $460,000 project to be completed June 1 needs to be scrapped and redesigned.

So while parks superintendent Jan Orlich and Smooth Jazz founder Bernie Scott seem to have irreconcilable differences, councilman Bob McKee hopes to find common ground.

“I don’t view it as a total disaster,” McKee said after visiting the amphitheater Wednesday. “I’m not sure I would have designed it the way they did ... I think it’s certainly a salvageable thing.”

The councilman will have his work cut out for him Friday when he’ll meet with Smooth Jazz organizers and other city and park officials.

Scott and other concert organizers made forceful speeches to McKee and others at Tuesday’s City Council meeting, saying the renovations, specifically a snaking access ramp for people with disabilities, take up too much space and would lead to the concert losing as much as $25,000 in ticket sales. Orlich said at the meeting concert organizers were wildly overestimating the number of lost seats.

Planning for the amphitheater began in January 2009, Orlich said, and included several public meetings. Scott and other organizers should have raised objections to the planned renovations at the meetings, she said, not a month before the nearly $500,000 project is scheduled to be complete.

Orlich said if concert organizers needed more seating, bleachers could be set up in a parking lot used for concession. The handicapped ramp, which winds through a lawn seating and into the amphitheater, won’t displace as many seats as the organizers fear.

“They didn’t lose that many seats,” Orlich said Wednesday, “and we’re taking a look at the financials, and they might have had 1,800 to 2,000 people.

Orlich said the snaking ramp was designed that way out of necessity to meet handicapped accessibility standards given the steep grade of the amphitheater.

“Not once have (the organizers) contacted ... board members or myself to see if they could even view any of plans,“ Orlich said.

Scott said his organization was never invited to the public meetings where the plans were discussed.

“It’s such a terrible costly mistake to the community,” he said, “and it’s not beautiful anymore, and the community as a whole has a right to be very, very upset with this design.”

Scott wants the whole renovation redone. He hopes some changes can be made in time for the August concert, or his group will lose a lot of seating.

“The ramp has to be taken out completely,” he said. “ ... The entire amphitheater seating from the stage back is ruined. And to fix it, it has to be taken out and redone completely.”

Scott scoffed at the idea of seating people in bleachers.

“This is a high-end event, a first-class event,” he said, “and you don’t set up bleachers.”

Scott said the organizers don’t know what to do about their situation, but said the show will go on this year. He did not rule out finding another venue.

“If it goes out of town, it’s going to stay out of town,” he said.

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Tim
post Apr 22 2010, 06:10 PM
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QUOTE(southsiderMMX @ Apr 22 2010, 08:27 AM) *


So - you've been down there, right? What would you estimate the number of lost seats to actually be? !000 seems unrealistic.
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Southsider2k12
post Apr 22 2010, 07:54 PM
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QUOTE(Tim @ Apr 22 2010, 07:10 PM) *

So - you've been down there, right? What would you estimate the number of lost seats to actually be? !000 seems unrealistic.


I'm no seating expert, but I think a thousand people is ridiculous.
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Tim
post Apr 22 2010, 11:57 PM
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QUOTE(southsiderMMX @ Apr 22 2010, 08:54 PM) *

I'm no seating expert, but I think a thousand people is ridiculous.


So what's your best guestimate?
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Southsider2k12
post Apr 23 2010, 07:13 AM
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QUOTE(Tim @ Apr 23 2010, 12:57 AM) *

So what's your best guestimate?


I could see a couple of hundred, that makes sense to my untrained amateur eye.
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Southsider2k12
post Apr 23 2010, 07:59 AM
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http://thenewsdispatch.com/articles/2010/0...86493958217.txt

QUOTE
Amphitheater

Handicapped ramp cuts hillside
Published: Friday, April 23, 2010 4:14 AM CDT
Editorial

The Issue:

Could the outdoor concert site be made accessible less obtrusively?

Our Opinion:

The design is unsettling. More public input might have helped.

The wheelchair ramp built at the revamped Guy F. Foreman Amphitheater in Washington Park has stirred controversy, which is no surprise, since it radically changes the grassy hillside that faces this outdoor concert stage.

Bernie Scott, who founded the very successful Smooth Jazz at South Shore annual concert there, is upset because the sidewalk, with its S curve crossing back and forth across the main seating area, will reduce the number of seats. He says the redesign will cost the concert 1,000 seats, but Park Superintendent Jan Orlich says that number is wildly exaggerated.

Orlich explained the design, saying the slope was too steep for a direct wheelchair ramp from the parking area to the stage. And that may be. And while the Parks Department and Park Board legally must consider accessibility for the disabled when redesigning structures, a number of questions emerge.

For whatever reason, few people outside the Parks Department seemed to be aware that the new design would transform the hillside so much. It may have been the responsibility of the public, including Scott, to be aware of the redesign before the Park Board approved it. And while the Smooth Jazz concert is but one event per year, it is a huge event and it would have been wise of the planners of this facility to get some input from the Smooth Jazz people.

The ramp may make the front of the stage more accessible to disabled people, but it may also interfere with those who like sitting on the lawn to enjoy a concert, and the curbing at the edge of the walk could pose a hazard to those walking the hillside in the dark.

Third, couldn’t another design have accomplished making the amphitheater accessible without the ramp going back and forth across the hillside?

As City Councilman Bob McKee put it, “I don’t view it as a total disaster.” No, not a “total” disaster, but certainly unsettling.
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Southsider2k12
post Apr 30 2010, 10:50 AM
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I was just up at the zoo with the kids, they are testing with water at the Splash Pad as we speak.
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Southsider2k12
post May 11 2010, 08:58 AM
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http://thenewsdispatch.com/articles/2010/0...3d765198443.txt

QUOTE
Trees removed, more seats approved for amphitheater

Matt Field/The News-Dispatch Workers remove trees from the Washington Park amphitheater lawn.
By Alicia Ebaugh
Staff Writer
Published: Friday, May 7, 2010 4:14 AM CDT
MICHIGAN CITY — Eleven trees have been removed from the lawn of the Washington Park amphitheater to make room for more lawn seating, Park Department Superintendent Jan Orlich said at Thursday’s Park Board meeting.

The board Thursday also approved the addition of 120 more individual permanent seats in the terraced sections in front of the stage, bringing the total of these seats to 300

“This will alleviate some of the concerns about not having enough seating for events like Smooth Jazz at South Shore,” Orlich said.

The trees were removed this week by park maintenance workers. Eight of them were cut down and had their stumps removed, but three of them were dug up and transplanted to areas along Lake Shore Drive to replace dead trees there.

The extra seating will cost $16,609 to purchase and install, but Orlich said there is more than $50,000 left in the project’s approved budget. The only costs left are ramp lighting and sodding.

“There’s more than enough left over to pay for it,” she said. “There will be room on the ground in front of the stage to put at least 150 folding chairs as well.”

The final steps in the renovation, including grading of the hillside sloping toward the amphitheater, will begin today.

Park Board Attorney Jeffrey Katz said architect Roger Potratz and other designers at dh2w planned the renovations well, and the amphitheater and its surroundings will look wonderful when everything is finished.

“I’ve been to concerts in big venues all over the country ... they’re all sloped toward the stage like this, some even steeper,” he said. “It’s not a disaster at all. It’s an asset to the city that we hope will be able to draw big outdoor events.”

Organizers of the annual Smooth Jazz at South Shore concert, which benefits three area charities, previously protested some of the renovations, like the winding access ramp for people with disabilities and reduced areas for VIP seating.
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