New zoo amphitheater in the works

By Erika Mahoney

May 6, 2013 Updated May 6, 2013 at 11:38 PM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) When flood waters swept through Binghamton in 2011, they destroyed a number of important recreational spots, including the Ross Park Amphitheater.

After nearly two years of neglect, it's receiving the attention local officials say it needs.

Binghamton, Broome County and the zoological society have secured a $300,000 grant to reconstruct the amphitheater, said Tarik Abdelazim, Binghamton's Planning, Housing and Community Development director.

The grant requires the city to supply 25 percent, so Binghamton will be on the hook for $100,000.

Project officials estimate the cost at nearly $400,000.

Rather than rebuilding the amphitheater in its original spot, they've proposed to move it to a new site that's out of the flood plain.

The new amphitheater will also be more accessible for people with disabilities and near bathrooms and a power source.

"I think when we redesign this in the new site, we are going to see a lot more use," Abdelazim said. "I have been talking with the Discovery Center and the zoo campus, and they're very excited about this investment."

Because of the proposal to relocate the facility, an environmental review is necessary before construction can begin.

The plan is to begin building next spring.

The National Guard has already signed up to excavate the existing amphitheater at no cost.