WATERTOWN — City officials waited a year to apply for federal funds for a planned Thompson Park amphitheater to give the Watertown Family YMCA the opportunity to score its $9 million grant for its community center project in a former call center on Arsenal Street.
A year later, city officials are now preparing to go after that Department of Defense funding for a permanent stage in Thompson Park that’s been discussed for years.
They are about to seek an architectural firm to put together conceptual drawings of what the amphitheater would look like and how much it would cost, information that would be used when the city applies for the grant this summer.
The subject of the application process came up at Monday night’s City Council work session during a discussion about the nearly $23 million the city will receive from the American Rescue Plan program that was approved by Congress in March.
On Tuesday, City Manager Kenneth A. Mix said he hopes the city can get the Request for Proposal process together “as soon as we can get it out” to get an architectural firm on board.
“It’s basic information we need to show in the application,” Mr. Mix said. The city needs “a third party” to put together the drawings and cost estimates to apply for the grant, he said.
The amphitheater would be used for the city’s July Fourth celebration and other performances, possibly including concerts put on by the Disabled Persons Action Organization. In the past, the city has talked about an amphitheater that would feature a stage and band shell and would utilize the natural slope of the ground for spectator seating.
Last year, Mayor Jeffrey M. Smith was persuaded to hold off on applying for the DoD funding, so it would not hurt the chances of the Y to obtain its federal grant for the community center and aquatics facility.
On Monday night, Mayor Smith said he talked about the amphitheater application with former Mayor Joseph M. Butler Jr., Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army for New York at Fort Drum, about the city’s plans to apply for the grant. The command garrison at Fort Drum told Mayor Smith it will support the city’s efforts.
Mr. Mix expects the Office of Economic Adjustment to announce this year’s application process in May. The DoD funding goes toward projects to support military families and improve the quality of their lives.