‘Tentative thumbs up’ for amphitheater

An editorial in Monday’s Home News-Tribune, found here on MyCentralJersey.com, gives a “tentative thumbs up” to the Hamilton Street amphitheater that’s expected to break ground this fall.

The thumbs up was tentative “because of the price,” quoting city officials that estimate the $3.5-million project will cost taxpayers about $40 per year. “That’s hard to swallow, especially in these uncertain economic times.”

But they also describe the project as “ambitious” and “like the notion of a large public space to benefit many from the community and from surrounding towns.” The plan to renovate the nearby Bell Telephone building for a 200-seat black box theater and dance studio “helps maintain the city’s character,” the editorial noted, and makes reference to other cities, like Princeton, that “have successfully used the arts as an economic engine.” (Speaking of Princeton, here’s a story on a new five-story, 52-unit residential-retail complex built downtown.)

Not to quibble but for what it’s worth, the editorial also referred to a nonexistent Hamilton Avenue (it’s Hamilton Street in Rahway).