LEWISTON — The city’s new riverfront amphitheater is ready for use, city officials said Wednesday.

“The amphitheater is an additional part in Simard-Payne (Memorial) Park that we hope will become a major asset in this area,” Deputy City Adminstrator Phil Nadeau said. “Over time, I think it will become an asset that will be really sought out by people.”

The city cuts the ribbon on the new Simard-Payne Memorial Park amphitheater with a concert and other performances at 4:30 p.m. Friday, June 24.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony will feature performances by Ninth Tone Voice Studios, Lewiston-Auburn Community Little Theatre and the Maine Music Society. The event is free and open to the public.

Lewiston police will be presenting a family movie at the park later this summer, according to Economic Development Specialist Misty Parker.

The new venue, featuring a stage surrounded by grassy mounds, will be immediately available for public use.

Work building the venue wrapped up late last summer, but Deputy City Administrator Phil Nadeau said city rules had to catch up.

“We’ve not promoted it because we were in the early stages of working out how the application process would work,” Nadeau said. “Now we’ve vetted out that process.”

Groups interested in using the amphiteather need to register with the city, much like they do with other parks, plazas or city buildings. They would be charged a $50 application fee and the total cost would be based on the type of event. For-profit groups will be charged the full fee; nonprofits get a discount. Lewiston-based nonprofits get a bigger discount.

“There will be instances when there will be no charge, instances when there will be small charge for performances, and times when for-profit people want to use it,” Nadeau said.

The amphitheater was one of the recommendations from 2012’s Riverfront Island Master Plan. It was created as a modest stage for smaller community events, concerts and presentations and not a big concert venue. There are no formal seats, but grassy spaces cut into Simard-Payne Memorial Park’s topography.

“If somebody wants tables and chairs, they’ll have to bring their own,” Nadeau said. “The only seating is what we built into the grass of the hill. If they are not sitting on the granite pieces or the grass, they should bring a chair.”

The city paid for the work with the $250,000 remains of a $900,000 federal grant aimed at cleaning up the area. About $180,000 of the grant went to write the Riverfront Island Master Plan, the rest went to improving the park entrance from Lincoln Street and cleaning up the park’s waterline along the Androscoggin River.

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