Richmond Hill officials said the amphitheater construction project is on track and should be completed prior to the Great Ogeechee Seafood Festival, which runs Oct. 16-18.
City Manager Mike Melton projected the project will be completed by the first week of October.
Council split the vote when they met in June on whether or not to move forward with the amphitheater project at this time.
On June 16, council members Floyd Hilliard and JoAnn Bickley voted to wait while council members Jimmy Hires and Marilyn Hodges voted to begin construction. Mayor Richard Davis broke the tie by voting to begin construction, which began days after the meeting. Hilliard and Bickley expressed concern that construction may interfere with the Seafood Festival. They also said the $600,000 price tag may be a bit too high. Members of the Festival Committee have also expressed concern.
"Mike Melton and I have been keeping in touch regularly, and the city is working very hard to get the project done," Seafood Festival Chairman Mike Cisco said. "It looks like it will be ready in time."
According to a report from parks manager Harvey Lashley: "The footers for the stage have been poured. Walls will begin soon."Upon completion, the project will be a venue for future concerts in the park. It is slated to accommodate attendance figures of 5,000-6,000 people.
The project, originally tagged with $1.3 million, was revised just prior to construction. Changes between the current and original plans include the exclusion of hard seating and dressing rooms/restrooms for performers.
The live performances of the Seafood Festival will help to show off the new facility as artists such as Lou Gramm, the lead singer of Foreigner, and John Waite are set to take the stage for the big annual event.
In other council business conducted at last week’s regular meeting:
- YMCA Director Mary Arocha and several members of the YMCA Board of Directors appeared before council to discuss the 10,000 square-foot site near the intersection of Hwy. 144 and I-95 that the Richmond Hill YMCA will be based out of in 2010. They also stressed the need for a city swimming pool, which Jim Gardener with the YMCA board said is badly needed. Gardener also said the Y would be happy to manage the pool.
- New Publix manager Derek Hellstrom introduced himself to the mayor and council after council renewed the beer and wine liquor license for the supermarket. Hellstrom recently arrived here from a store in South Carolina and replaces Keith Everett, who has been promoted to a store in Marietta.
- Council approved a liquor license for Jalapeno’s Mexican Restaurant, which is coming soon to the new Kroger shopping center. Jalapeno’s manager Arnold Castellanos said construction starts Monday and the restaurant should open within two to three months.
- Council approved a beer and wine liquor license for the Sterling Links Golf Course club house.
- Ursula Lee was appointed and sworn in as city Election Superintendent while Linda Phillips and Grace Smith were appointed and sworn in as Absentee Ballot Clerks.