STOW — What’s in a name?
Quite a bit, according to Stow city officials.
City officials on Monday gave a brief update on the early plans for the construction of an amphitheater and the installation of a play trail at the city center site near the corner of Graham and Darrow roads. They noted the “d” word is no longer being used in connection with the proposal.
“Now, it is not a downtown plan,” emphasized Linda Nahrstedt, director of the city’s parks and recreation department. “It’s a city center plan. We have realized that a lot of people have opposition to downtown [with] the buildings, bars and all of that. We moved away from that plan.”
Stow Mayor John Pribonic added that when people hear the word “downtown,” they envision “traffic congestion [and] buildings.”
Money is being raised to cover the cost of the amphitheater and the play trail. Nahrstedt said community organizations and local businesses have pledged about $200,000 for the amphitheater so far. The amphitheater is projected to cost $400,000 and the play trail anywhere from $250,000 to $300,000, according to Nahrstedt.
Pribonic said he expects to have money raised for the amphitheater by the end of May.
Nahrstedt said the amphitheater is planned for the corner of City Center Boulevard and she noted the play trail will contain “multiple playground pieces that kind of winds through the upper part of the amphitheater area.”
Although she did not have precise measurements available, Nahrstedt said the amphitheater would be the same size as the one in downtown Cuyahoga Falls. She added that music concerts, children’s activities, family events and movie nights are among the activities planned at the amphitheater.
A rendering of the amphitheater and play trail will be released in about a month, according to Pribonic.
Nahrstedt said officials would be using the arts commission as either a focus group for the city center project or to solicit input from the community.
Pribonic emphasized there is “still plenty of property” in the area eyed for development and noted the amphitheater and play trail will not be the only two components of the city center project.
“We’re taking small steps,” Pribonic said. “We don’t want to become overwhelming for people.”
He noted the arts commission will play a “big part of [finding out] what do people want to see in our city?”
“It’s not [about] what the administration wants or what I want,” said Pribonic. “It is what the people want …we need to go ahead and reflect what our community is.”
Reporter Phil Keren can be reached at 330-541-9421, firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter at @keren_phil.