At Saturday’s Chautauqua Property Owners Association general meeting, the Hall of Philosophy was packed with homeowners itching to know how eventual construction on the Amphitheater could affect their properties.
The meeting served as a forum for property owners to ask questions of John Shedd, Chautauqua Institution’s director of operations and administrator of architectural and land use regulations.
Although no plans have been set concerning the Amphitheater, Shedd was able to answer questions about proposed ingress and egress routes and how construction will affect roads and properties adjacent to the Amphitheater.
“Regardless of the final implementation of this project, any construction will necessitate the movement heavy trucks and machinery into and out of Chautauqua Institution,” CPOA President Bill Neches said.
Shedd said he has been working closely with Neches and the CPOA, and he hopes to keep homeowners involved and informed about any construction decisions regarding the project.
“Any project of this magnitude is going to be a sensitive one,” Shedd said. “We want to be very open and listening to everyone.”
He said the Amphitheater sessions on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays have been helpful in getting feedback from the community.
To improve communications, Shedd said some kind of “hotline” mechanism may be developed for property owners to contact the Institution during the off-season, and email blasts with construction updates will be used to keep property owners informed.
Shedd also encouraged homeowners to update their contact information with the Institution and provide a local contact if they are not permanent residents, in case something were to happen to their property during the off season.
“We are talking to insurance advisers about what we can include in our insurance policies that will cover us for any type of incidents that occur along the routes,” Shedd said.
He also encouraged homeowners to speak with their insurance agents if they are concerned about possible damage to their properties.
The Amphitheater project will likely be an 18-month project with a pre-season construction period that will pause during the nine-week summer season of programming and resume with more heavy construction during the fall. However, Shedd said, property owners should have access to their property throughout the whole construction period.
There are two construction routes that Shedd said may become one circulation route. The first route comes in through the Main Gate down Center, then right onto Palestine and continuing to the Amp. The second route starts at the Bryant Gate and follows South Lake Drive to the Amp.
Shedd said the Institution is looking at ways to ensure that little damage is done to the grounds, including reinforcing the roads with large steel plates, reducing the size of vehicles traveling on the roads, temporarily easing tight corners, and placing vibration monitoring devices throughout the route.
“There will be reconstruction after any new surface is put down, and it will meet a higher standard than the current roads do,” he said.
The CPOA will hold two additional meetings for those living along the proposed construction routes: 8 a.m. Aug. 14 in the Hall of Christ and 8 a.m. Aug. 21 in the Hall of Christ.