Lights, amphitheater coming to Camp Meehan

Lights, amphitheater coming to Camp Meehan

The new amphitheater will be built in this area of Camp Meehan. (Brreze photo by Ethan Shorey)

NORTH PROVIDENCE – Construction of a new amphitheater at Notte Park/Camp Meehan should begin soon, says Mayor Charles Lombardi, one of the final touches on a transformation of the Camp Meehan property purchased by the town five years ago.

Town workers have also been installing new lights along the roadway from Notte Park into Camp Meehan, said Lombardi, creating a brighter and safer corridor to the Meehan Overlook, a refurbished recreation building that’s also become a money-making event center.

The mayor envisions the amphitheater hosting many outdoor events, with visitors able to look out over the Wenscott Reservoir and the fountains near the Notte Park beach as they watch plays, musical acts and other events.

To make the view Lombardi envisions possible, the gazebo previously built on the property will likely be moved about 30 feet, he said.

The Breeze reported last year that the town had won a $400,000 grant from the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management to pay for a new outdoor amphitheater. The $400,000 brought the total invested by RIDEM in the park property to $1,235,500 since the town purchased the property in 2012, including the purchase price of $500,000.

Lombardi often tells the tale of how he saved the 15-acre former Camp Meehan property from condo developers after becoming mayor in 2007, adding the property to the existing Notte Park off Douglas Avenue and creating a larger “crown jewel” for current and future generations of town residents.

The $400,000 grant requires a 20 percent match from the town, said Lombardi, but he said the great thing is that the town can fill that $80,000 requirement by using in-kind services. Essentially, they can add up the hourly pay for town employees working on the project to account for the money instead of making an actual payment.

The mayor says he’s hopeful that Notte Park/Camp Meehan becomes a self-sustainable entity. The town is taking an increased volume of bookings for events at the Meehan Overlook, he said, with two weddings planned for one weekend this month. The word is getting out about what a beautiful place this is, he said.

“I’ll be disappointed if we don’t derive $50,000 in revenue for the first year,” he said.

Even Senate President Dominick Ruggerio held an event at the facility, said Lombardi.