ORONO, Maine — Plans have been drawn up to build a handicap accessible granite amphitheater and complement it with native and ornamental gardens behind the Orono Public Library.
Local residents, through the Orono Public Library Foundation capital campaign, raised the $2.1 million needed to build the media center that opened in 2009 and now the foundation board has embarked on, “Chapter Two: The Campaign for the Orono Village Green.”
“It’s going to add significant green space to Orono,” Sarah Kenney, Orono Public Library Foundation president, said Monday. “It will connect the library to the senior center and village pathways. There is an amphitheater with seating for 125, a large shaded area for chairs, a pergola — a place for people to have a quiet area to read or access Wi-Fi.”
Landscape architect Steve Ribble of Context by Design designed the area with hundreds of ornamental trees, flowers and plantings, a shaded stone plaza connected to the library building that will feature tables and chairs, a stone stage with amphitheater seating, some that is granite and some that is grass, bench seating and an overlook, according to the group’s website.
The fundraising goal for the three-season green space is $370,000, and $201,777 has already been raised, Kenney said.
“We have an aggressive goal to raise the funds by the end of this year. We would love to see this go out to bid in the spring,” Kenney said. “We can’t wait. We envision people sitting out there having picnics, [with] impromptu music on the stage.”
Once the funds are raised, “We will gift that to the town of Orono to construct that space,” she said.
Some of the funds will be used for maintenance and upkeep of the area.
The names of all who donate will be etched onto a permanent display at the facility, and there are still naming rights available for some areas of the site that includes the seating area, Kenney said.
The stone stage will be named in honor of the late Dana and Mary Ann Devoe, who were instrumental in supporting and getting the word out about the library construction project.
“This is just going to be a place where the community can gather,” Kenney said of the downtown village green project.
To find out more about the Orono Village Green campaign or make a donation contact the foundation by email, firstname.lastname@example.org, call 991-3734, or mail P.O. Box 308, Orono, ME 04473.
An earlier version of this story gave the amount raised by the end of May.