A volunteer Community Life Committee, which formed a year ago, has set their sights on an amphitheater for the City of Solon and shared their thoughts with City Council Monday.
Solon resident Mouneer Ahmad, a member of the committee spearheaded by Mayor Edward H. Kraus last spring to address the areas of arts and culture, recreation and more in the city, explained a variety of recommendations from the committee for improvements in the community.
Among ideas like a farmer’s market, enhancements to Home Days, a safe area for teens to congregate, bike trails and more, Mr. Ahmad said an amphitheater was one of the first ideas they felt of value to present to the city.
The committee, which is comprised of representatives of each of the city’s seven wards, plus the mayor’s appointees for a total of 10 members, weighed the pros and cons of an open air center to support the arts, as well as narrowed down possible locations. Internal discussions began earlier this year for an outdoor governmental cultural events area that would include an amphitheater.
Called for in the city’s master plan, there has been talk of moving forward with this concept, especially due to the city’s upcoming bicentennial in 2020.
The up side of an amphitheater would be the ability to gather in nature, beautify the community and have a venue for art shows, music, education and weddings among other gatherings. The down side is “always the issue of money,” Mr. Ahmad said, and also ensuring there is not a lack of use.
The committee targeted the area of Bainbridge Road across from the Solon Center for the Arts as a possible location, as well as across from Grant Wood Golf Course, the Community Park, the Liberty Ford location and Hawthorn.
The preferred location is the Community Park, Mr. Ahmad said, with the Liberty Ford site on Aurora Road being the second choice.
The committee asked that City Council leverage resources and assess their proposal, as well as send the recommendation to the city planner.
“We will return to council with further recommendations,” Mr. Ahmad said.
Councilwoman Nancy E. Meany thanked the committee for their time thus far.
“It’s so important to get our community involved,” Mrs. Meany said.
Mayor Kraus also thanked the members who were in attendance.
“You come from different wards and have different ideas, and it’s amazing and wonderful to get citizen’s input,” he said. “We as an administration and council cannot operate in a vacuum.
“We need the city involved,” Mayor Kraus said. “You are thinking of solutions for the future and for the betterment of our community.”
Councilman Douglas A. Magill said that, while he likes the idea of an amphitheater, “my caution to you is that it needs to anchor a greater vision for the city” such as defining where downtown Solon truly is going to be.
“It’s refreshing to see resident and citizen involvement,” Councilman Marc R. Kotora added.
“It’s really nice to hear positive ideas,” Mayor Kraus said. “As a community, if we don’t change and grow, we will lose out.
“Your positive energy and positive vibe reflects the community we are,” he added.