Just as the City finishes Peter Courtney Bridge at Riverfront Park, it recently acted to permit further improvements to the Park. The City designated the 2.2 acres currently occupied by the amphitheater as a performance facility in advance of completing a full master plan for the Park. This decision allows The Rotary Club of Salem to begin fundraising for a new covered stage and supports for lighting, rigging sound systems and other features. Depending on the total amount of funds raised by Rotary and the City’s ability to secure additional funding from other sources, the project may also include improvements to the seating area and spaces peripheral to the stage.

City staff estimates that the cost for the donated facility will be between $1 and $2 million. Rotary will conduct a two year fundraising effort. Concurrently with this campaign Rotary will conduct a public process on various designs. According to Barry Nelson, Rotary co-chair for the project, there will be a public forum at the Salem Public Library, July 25th at 6:30pm, to review options.

The preferred design will be brought to the Salem Parks and Recreation Advisory Board and then to the City Council for approval in 2018. Rotary will deliver bid-ready construction documents to the City which will assume responsibility for project construction. The construction phase is expected to begin in 2019 with a targeted completion date in early 2020.

Rotary and other civic groups have donated many of the amenities in Riverfront Park. Examples include: Salem Riverfront Carousel (1996), Rotary Children’s Playground (1990),

Eco Earth Globe (2003) and Salem Rotary Centennial Pavilion (2005).