Controversy over proposed amphitheater in Plymouth Township

(WXYZ) - Yard signs line the entrance to Beacon Hills subdivision in Plymouth Township. They speak to the opposition some residents have for plans by officials to add a 300-seat amphitheater to Plymouth Township Park. 

“I think they’re dug in,” said Russell Brown, a 10-year resident of the neighborhood of the $350,000 amphitheater project.  A narrow 4-3 vote by Trustees in April for architectural and construction-management services got the ball rolling.

Township Supervisor Richard Reaume believes the amphitheater will be another asset for the community.  The venue is intended to be small, built with terraced grass seating and stone retaining walls.  Concerts and live theater programming is being planned on evenings that don’t conflict with youth baseball games played on the nearby diamonds.

“They’re intended for lawn chars, blankets, family events,” said Reaume, who spoke by telephone to 7 Action News while on vacation. "There’s no permanent seating here, no plastic permanent seats like you would find at DTE or Freedom Hill and we’re not intending for rock concerts at all.”

The Township would use proceeds from bonds to build the amphitheater. $283,000 has been raised through federal, state and Wayne County parks grants along with foundation grants, according to Reaume. The money will be offset the $600,000 cost for a proposed new park pavilion that is part of the project. Additional grant money may be available next year.

Residents who live next to the park have expressed concerns over possible traffic and parking issues as well as noise from events at the amphitheater. They claim they’re not getting answers to their questions from officials.

Chris Rheault, a longtime resident, said more pressing needs in the Township should be addressed.

“We need firemen, we need firetrucks. We need a lot of things but we don’t need an amphitheater and a pavilion,” said Rheault

“I think we should go back to the drawing table and start over and listen to what taxpayers have to say,” offered Brown.

Nearly 300 residents have signed an online petition against the proposed amphitheater. The next Township Board of Trustees meeting will be held July
22.

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