Plans for Hamilton Street arts projects to be presented to City Council Monday night

The City Council will get a presentation Monday night on the plans for the Hamilton Street arts projects. A similar presentation was made to the Redevelopment Agency at its meeting tonight.

The governing body is scheduled to introduce an $8.5-million bond ordinance Monday for construction of an amphitheater at the former Hamilton Laundry site (photo, right), and renovation of the former Bell Telephone Building into a dance studio and black box theater. The ordinance also would cover funding for the future acquisition of the Elizabethtown Gas building at the corner of Hamilton Street and Central Avenue, according to City Administrator and Redevelopment Director Peter Pelissier.

The bond ordinance will supplement $3 million already borrowed for work related to the Hamilton Street projects. A follow-up presentation will take place during the public hearing and final adoption of the bond ordinance, scheduled for the City Council’s March 8 regular meeting. Pelissier said the design option that was selected was the most expensive, but meetings with the Rahway Arts District board will continue and alternatives can be considered. “We need to take a look and see that we need what was requested,” he said.

The amphitheater will seat between 1,000 and 1,300, and the black box theater about 22o. The plan is to go out to bid this summer and award contracts by September. Construction would begin in October and last about nine months, allowing for operation by sometime in summer 2011.